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EPA To Make Decision on Mississippi River Standards
By Intern

River Run OffSAINT PAUL (September 18, 2013) - A U.S. District Judge of Mississippi gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) six months to decide whether to set Clean Water Act standards on a national level for nitrogen and phosphorous in all U.S. waterways or explain why they’re not needed.

Every summer, nitrogen, phosphorous & other nutrients feed algae blooms at the river’s mouth. Algae and the protozoa that feed off these nutrients die and fall to the bottom, where their decomposition uses up oxygen. These decomposing microorganisms are carried downstream to the Gulf of Mexico, leaving an area on the sea bottom averaging nearly 5,800 square miles — larger than the state of Connecticut. This hypoxia—commonly referred to as a dead zone—does not contain enough oxygen for aquatic life.

The department argued for EPA that setting such rules would be unnecessarily complex, and can be solved at the state level.

The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force hosted a meeting September 24, 2013 in Minneapolis to inform the public of progress moving forward on Gulf Hypoxia.

For more information read this article.