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Lake ID

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources site ID for Blue Lake has not been found. Blue Lake does not appear to be classified as a public water of the state. Because Blue Lake does not reliably contain standing water, it is possible that it does not meet the criteria for a lake and more appropriately would be considered a wetland. A clear definition of what constitutes a lake in Minnesota was not found, but general guidance is available at

Blue Lake is in the floodplain of the Minnesota River. Floodplain lakes, with their complex hydrology and ecosystems, are subject to periodic flooding that introduces water, sediment, and aquatic life.  

Blue Lake usually maintains water in the spring when the Minnesota River water levels are higher. In some years, this water dries up later in the season. Because the water level in Blue Lake is sporadic, it likely has no native fish population or any other common characteristics of a lake. 

Blue Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), operated by the Metropolitan Council/Metropolitan Waste Control Commission, is nearby and gets its name from Blue Lake. It is evident near the bottom right (southeast) in the adjacent image. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE, 2019), the Blue Lake WWTP does not discharge its processed wastewater effluent to Blue Lake but instead discharges directly to the Minnesota River upstream of Blue Lake. The only discharge from the plant to Blue Lake is untreated groundwater that the plant pumps as needed to protect underground infrastructure within the facility. The plant added more dewatering capacity in 2008 after record flood events increased groundwater levels higher than targeted. Typical quantities are 1.0 to 1.5 billion gallons per year. 

Water quality monitoring activities for floodplain lakes have been either eliminated or reduced because of the regular intrusion of water from the Minnesota River. Sediment and paleolimnological assessments have been periodically completed to understand the quantity and quality of sediment deposition in some of the floodplain lakes from the Minnesota River. Information about depth, water chemistry, or vegetation was not found for Blue Lake. 

This data was last updates November 2021.