St. Paul, MN  (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued a new report that indicates a variety of pollutants have left many bodies of water in the state inadequate for human consumption and aquatic life.

It found phosphorus and nitrogen, high bacteria levels, and mercury contamination continue to be problems in many lakes rivers and streams throughout Minnesota.

The report says the problem is particularly bad in southern Minnesota, where it found agricultural runoff is the predominant source of the contaminants. MPCA researchers noted that in heavily farmed areas, surrounding lakes and streams had high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. The report found those levels were high enough to make it difficult to support aquatic life, and in some cases, prohibit people from swimming in lakes and streams.

Urban areas were also found to suffer from elevated levels of water pollution resulting from runoff.

The study, which monitored half of Minnesota’s 81 major watersheds, was conducted over the past few years. It’s release coincides with Governor Mark Dayton’s push to mandate cropland buffer strips around Minnesota’s streams, rivers and lakes; a proposal that has has run into opposition from many farmers and agriculture groups.

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