Water quality – upper Mississippi River

Those of us who live or work in Minneapolis get our drinking water from the Mississippi River. The city has an extensive water treatment system before the water goes to your home or business. A recent report from the MPCA documents how the quality of the Mississippi River’s water changes from the headwaters to the greater Metro-St. Cloud area. Governor Dayton has declared this the year of water action, and this report illustrates some of the reasons why we all need to pay attention to clean water.

  • The study finds the Mississippi to be a largely healthy river in its northern reaches, owing largely to forested and wetland landscapes it flows through.

  • It then acquires significant problems south of St. Cloud, where tributaries from agricultural and more developed landscapes begin to flow into the Mississippi.

See a summary of the report or look at more details about the watershed.


The path of the Mississippi River, from its headwaters to Minneapolis, noting good river health for most of this stretch, and encountering pollution issues beginning downstream of St. Cloud.




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