Impairments under the Clean Water Act
Two impairments under the federal Clean Water Act continue to impact the Minneapolis segment of the Mississippi River.
The river throughout the length of Minneapolis remains impaired for E. Coli bacteria. Swimming or other contact with water impaired for E. Coli can make humans sick. The state is currently working on a plan to reduce E. Coli in this portion of the river.
Three contaminants from river water currently accumulate in the tissue of fish: mercury, PCBs, and PFOS. Because of this contamination, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends limiting the consumption of fish from this portion of the river. For healthy adults, that means just one meal a week for most fish, and in some cases even less. The recommendations for pregnant women and children are even more limited.
Data sources: Data acquired from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Water Body Impairment listing (2012). MPCA has developed and submitted draft 2014 list of impairments to the Environmental Protection Agency, but those are not yet official at time of publication (December 2015). MPCA impairments are listed by Mississippi River geography: Coon Creek to Upper Saint Anthony Falls, Upper Saint Anthony Falls to Lower Saint Anthony Falls, Lower Saint Anthony Falls to Lock & Dam #1 (Ford Dam), and Lock & Dam #1 (Ford Dam) to Minnesota River