Supporting Wastewater Utility Nutrient Voluntary Performance Improvement Through Training and Technical Assistance in the Red River Basin


Water Quality

Project Description

The IJC’s International Red River Board keeps the IJC informed of basin activities that affect transboundary river flows, water quality, and ecosystem health in the Red River and its tributaries. The Red River flows north from its headwaters in Minnesota, across the border to its outlet at Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. The river basin occupies substantial portions of North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota, southern Manitoba, and a very small portion of northeastern South Dakota.

This project supports consistent, multi-jurisdictional and binational efforts to help address eutrophication in the Red River Basin, with federal, state, and provincial involvement to provide an appropriate foundation for watershed scale prevention efforts. This project involves implementing basin-wide wastewater facility optimization training and on-site technical assistance for both mechanical plants and lagoons to achieve voluntary nutrient reductions. This project has been designed to fulfill two of the Board’s work plan priority actions to: 1) recommend appropriate strategies to the Commission concerning water quality, quantity and aquatic ecosystem health objectives in the basin; and 2) encourage the appropriate regulatory and enforcement agencies to take steps to ensure that agreed objectives are met. Efforts are underway by individual and collective jurisdictions to study, evaluate and implement nonpoint source practices that effectively reduce nutrients in the Red River Basin.

The education and technical assistance in this project offer practical and cost-effective strategies that wastewater utilities can implement on a voluntary basis to help reduce nutrient loading and contribute to progress toward the proposed nutrient objectives and loading targets. It also helps foster relationships among facility operators across the Red River basin who can serve as resources to each other in the future. The project will enable the regulatory agencies in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba to collaborate on possible incentives in the form of training and technical assistance to wastewater utilities to assist them in reducing nutrients in effluent.




EPA Region 8, Red River Basin Commission, North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development