Water Act Part 2: Common-sense policy reforms

All Minnesotans deserve clean water

Water is essential for life. Protecting it doesn't have to be a partisan issue. (Join us for Water Action Day 2019!)

This session, FMR and our coalition partners are teaming up to advance a new way forward for clean water in Minnesota: The Minnesota Water Act.

The second article of this four-part bill package includes nonpartisan and realistically achievable policy goals. 

Water Bill Part 2: Simple bipartisan policy changes for clean water

Article two features a handful of modest, common-sense policy reforms that can pass through a divided government and help protect our water.

  • Adjust the Safe Drinking Water Fee
    It’s time to increase the annual safe drinking water fee from $6.36 to $9.72 per connection. The current fee was set in 2005 and inflation has increased 28% since. This important funding source allows the Minnesota Department of Health to test water, review water treatment plants, train and certify water system operators, inspect water systems and solve critical drinking water problems. We can't ensure safe and affordable water for everyone unless the state has the resources it needs to keep us safe.
  • Prevent salt pollution
    We need to reduce the amount of salt polluting our waters — a growing (and permanent) pollutant in many lakes and wetlands. Under this bill, Minnesota will establish a statewide “smart salt” training and certification program offering liability protection for certified private applicators. Improved snow and ice management can make our streets safer, our water healthier and save taxpayers millions in reduced salting costs. (Learn more.)
  • Truth in labeling for “flushable” wipes
    Some improperly disposed wipes clog wastewater treatment systems, requiring expensive and time-consuming maintenance for communities already struggling with the costs of wastewater treatment. This legislation would require disposable wipes labeled as “flushable” to meet industry standards so as to avoid harming wastewater treatment systems.
  • Renew the Legislative Water Commission
    The bipartisan Legislative Water Commission will sunset soon. This bill will extend the commission for another six years, allowing legislators time to work collaboratively to solve difficult water challenges facing our state.

We understand that these policy reforms alone will not be enough to achieve our goal of 100% clean, safe and affordable water by 2050. However, we are hopeful that smaller successes this year will help us make modest progress toward that goal while building momentum and support for broader policy changes in the future.

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Read our Legislative Updates blog

Many important river-related bills, proposals and projects are in play this session, January 8-May 20. Keep up to date with our Legislative Updates blog. Check back for news, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and sign up for our bimonthly e-newsletter, Mississippi Messages.

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