A robust stakeholder involvement program process was undertaken to develop partnerships and gain insight into winter maintenance activities and municipal wastewater plants as a source of chloride. This process began in early 2010, and has continued throughout the project allowing the stakeholders to assist in the development of the TCMA CMP and the TMDL and has generated the support of local partners and created a common understanding of the challenges with balancing water quality and public safety. This effort consisted of over 115 participating stakeholders on seven teams over five years; an Inter-Agency team (IAT), a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a Monitoring Sub-committee Group (MSG), an Implementation Plan Committee (IPC), an Education and Outreach Committee (EOC), and a Technical Expert Group (TechEx). Meeting information and stakeholder team membership lists are available at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/programs/roadsalt.html.
The IAT members included water resources experts from the MPCA, MnDOT, Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), USGS, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES), and the DNR. This team provided high level oversight, support and guidance for the project and became involved in the project during the initial feasibility study in 2009. The Committee met three times from 2010 through 2014.
The TAC members included representatives from the MPCA, MnDOT, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Shoreview, Burnsville, Plymouth, Capitol Region WD, Ramsey-Washington WD, Bassett Creek WMC, Mississippi WMO, Nine Mile Creek WD, Scott County WMO, Minnehaha Creek WD, Rice Creek WD and the American Public Works Association. This team was responsible for providing review, guidance, and support for the technical aspects of the project. Committee meetings were held seven times from 2010 through 2014. In addition to the in-person meetings, regular updates, and gathering of input and feedback on draft documents occurred over email.
The MSG was created to provide detailed technical guidance and support regarding the water quality monitoring aspects of the project. The team not only developed monitoring guidance for chloride but also partnered with MPCA to collect additional chloride data across the TCMA to inform the TCMA CMP and TMDL. This team consisted of local and state water quality experts from the MPCA, DNR, USGS, MCES, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Three Rivers Park District, Ramsey County, Capitol Region WD, Ramsey-Washington WD, Rice Creek WD, Minnehaha Creek WD, and Mississippi WMO. The Committee met four times from 2010 through 2013.
The EOC included local education specialist throughout the TCMA representing WDs, WMOs, counties, Freshwater Society, UMN Extension, East Metro Water Resource Education Program, and the MnDOT. This team was created to provide insight, direction, and to share information and resources to develop the strategies and needs of educating and engaging the public and stakeholders. The team met four times from 2011 through 2014.
A TechEx was formed to assist in the development of the WMAt. The team included hands on leaders in the winter maintenance industry from the MnDOT, cities, counties, and private companies. This team was instrumental in developing the vision and technical details of the WMAt. This group met in-person a few times but provided their review, feedback and expertise through email and review of materials.
The IPC consisted of representatives from all other teams and other interested stakeholders. This team’s primary responsibility was to provide oversight and guidance on the development of the TCMA CMP. This group also received updates on the development of the TMDL and other project information. Meetings were held three times from 2012 through 2014.
In addition to the involvement of the stakeholders on the seven project teams many other meetings, events, and conferences were attended over the five-year span of the project to share progress and results. This included;
In addition to attending the meetings and events mentioned two special outreach meetings were held specifically for the TCMA Chloride project. The first one was the Sand Creek Community Meeting, which was held in Jordan, Minnesota on July 30, 2014, to discuss the draft TMDL results. City, township, and county representatives, along with wastewater-treatment operators within the Sand and Raven Creek watersheds were invited to the meeting. Fourteen stakeholders attended the meeting. The second meeting was the Chloride Extravaganza held in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 28, 2015. Over 250 permitted and other key stakeholders in the TCMA were invited to hear presentations from the various MPCA staff regarding the water quality conditions of chloride in the TCMA, results of the draft TMDL, and have discussion regarding implementation of the TMCA CMP and TMDL. About 100 stakeholders participated in the event.
Aside from collaborating, engaging and informing local stakeholders with regards to the TCMA Chloride project additional efforts were made to increase the public’s awareness about the environmental impacts of chloride. The primary and most effective efforts included the development of a new MPCA webpage with information and tips for the public to reduce salt use and protect water quality. A short YouTube video was created discussing the environmental concerns with deicing salt as well as the effort underway to develop a plan for a collaborative and effective chloride reduction strategy. A large interactive display was designed, built and is now shared with the public at the Minnesota State Fair every year since 2012, and has also been made available to local partners for local educational events. And finally in 2010, the MPCA began generating press releases at the start of every winter that discusses the impacts of deicing salt on water resources and highlights new information, reports or data available. The official TMDL public comment period was held from August 3, 2015 through September 2, 2015. 10 letters were received during the public comment period.