In 1927, the Minnesota and Wisconsin Boards of Health declared the Mississippi River a public health hazard. Raw sewage and other wastes were discharged directly into the river. At that time, a predecessor agency to MCES began assessing the Mississippi River’s water quality. Today, more than 150 river miles are monitored in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, via 22 long-term monitoring sites on 5 rivers: the Mississippi, Minnesota, St. Croix, Rum, and Vermillion Rivers. These large rivers are monitored for a variety of physical, chemical, and biological variables, to document long-term changes in water quality and assess and characterize biological communities and riverbed sediments.
The four major components of the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) River Monitoring Program include:
View map of MCES river monitoring network
See the most recent River Quality Summary. (pdf).