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Minnesota officials seek input on nitrogen fertilizer rule meant to curb water contamination

MOORHEAD - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking comments from the public on a draft proposal for regulating the use of nitrogen fertilizer.The purpose of the proposed nitrogen fertilizer rule is to minimize the potential for n...

Woman drinking water
Woman drinking water

MOORHEAD - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking comments from the public on a draft proposal for regulating the use of nitrogen fertilizer.

The purpose of the proposed nitrogen fertilizer rule is to minimize the potential for nitrate-nitrogen contamination from fertilizer in the state's groundwater and drinking water. Nitrate is one of the most common contaminants in Minnesota's groundwater and elevated levels of nitrate in drinking water can pose serious health concerns for humans.

The MDA is seeking public input and will be holding public listening sessions, at which written comments can be submitted. The draft rule can be viewed online at www.mda.state.mn.us/nfr .

Listening sessions will be held at the following locations:

• Wadena: 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 11, Robertson Theatre, Wadena-Deer Creek High School, 600 Colfax Ave. S.W.

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• McIntosh: 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 12, McIntosh Community Center, 115 Broadway N.W.

Written comments on the draft nitrogen fertilizer rule should be submitted by Friday, Aug. 11, via mail to: Larry Gunderson, fertilizer technical unit supervisor, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 Robert St. N., St. Paul, MN, 55155-2538 or email larry.gunderson@state.mn.us . All comments should, but are not required to, include a contact name, phone number and/or email address to allow for follow-up discussion.

After considering comments, the MDA expects to publish the final draft of the rule in the fall. The rule is expected to be adopted in fall 2018.

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