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Draft Groundwater Protection Rule

Draft Groundwater Protection Rule

Groundwater Protection Rule (PDF: 328 KB / 26 pages)
Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) (PDF: 3.18 MB / 164 pages)
Notice of Hearing (PDF: 85 KB / 3 pages)
SONAR Appendixes (PDF: 15.73 MB / 208 pages)

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has released the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule. The purpose of the rule is to minimize potential fertilizer sources of nitrate pollution to the state’s groundwater and protect our drinking water. This proposed rule reflects a revision of the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule that was released in June 2017. The following content outlines the proposed rule and the changes the MDA made as a result of public feedback.

Information about the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule

How do I participate in the rulemaking process?

In order to comment on the proposed rule you must do one or both of the items below:

  1. The comment period for the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule begins on April 30, 2018 and will be open until July 26, 2018. All comments must be submitted in writing and must be submitted via the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) website. The link to the (OAH) website will be made available on April 30, 2018 when the comment period begins. THE MDA WILL NOT ACCEPT OR FORWARD WRITTEN COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED RULE.
  2. Attend one of the five public hearings around the state and provide testimony before the Administrative Law Judge:
Location Date Time
Robert Boeckman Middle School
800 Denmark Avenue
Farmington, MN 55024
Monday, July 16, 2018 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Stewartville Civic Center
105 First Street East
Stewartville, MN 55976
Wednesday, July 18,2018 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
1450 College Way
Worthington, MN 56187
Thursday, July 19,2018 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Apollo High School Auditorium
1000 44th Avenue North
St. Cloud, MN 56303
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
American Legion
900 First Street East
Park Rapids, MN 5670
Thursday, July 26, 2018 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

What has changed from the Summer 2017 draft to the current proposal?

June 2017 April 2018
Part 1
Statewide Restrictions on Nitrogen Fertilizer Application in the Fall and on Frozen Soil
Vulnerable Groundwater Area Definition Areas with vulnerable groundwater were defined using a method that measured how water moved through a 5 foot soil profile (Ksat) and karst geology Areas with vulnerable groundwater defined based on USDA NRCS soil maps and karst geology
Field Determination Criterion Used full sections of land to determine if Part 1 of the rule applied to individual fields Uses quarter-sections of land to determine if Part 1 of the rule applies to individual fields
County-level exclusions Provided no county-level exclusions Excludes counties based on their low risk for nitrate contamination in groundwater due to climate and minimal row crops
Part 2
Mitigation Efforts
Eligibility Criterion Applied to both townships and DWSMAs Applies to DWSMAs

June 2017 Groundwater Protection Rule Draft


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MDA Contact:
Larry Gunderson
Fertilizer Technical Unit Supervisor

Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division

Source: Minnesota Department of Agriculture