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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Let’s discuss the lake

I have lived here about 25 years and as any of us long timers will tell you the lake has always had tough summers. Being an impoundment with times that have insufficient water inflow there is bound to be water stagnation and algae blooms. One reason the problem is getting more attention now is we are trying to mitigate a situation that has few solid remedies. We all have heard about beach closings on many lakes, even Lake Michigan, so this is not uncommon. Pierce and Olson lakes in Rock Cut state park have had problems with e coli in the past. We are not immune.
When we first bought our lot here I noticed during the summer the far west fingers would fill up with stagnant material to the point it looked like you could walk on it. We blamed it on the affluent discharge from our sanitary system since it discharged into our lake. I remember going to and speaking at a county board meeting with others in an attempt to get the affluent discharged into Beaver Creek, which eventually happened after the multi-million dollar system was built to assure clean discharge. There was an alum treatment applied at that time and the lake was almost scary clear, a blue green water that had visibility to a depth of probably fifteen feet or more. That lasted a few years as I recall.
One problem with the discharge going into Beaver Creek was it eliminated that source of water going into the lake. Our lake eventually filled up with weeds to the extent it was almost unusable, then all the weeds suddenly completely died. One time we also drained the lake for dredging and weeds grew taller than your head on the newly exposed shoreline.
I could go on about all the lake problems but just know we have tried and continue to try everything to mitigate this as evidenced by the recent dredging and now the thrusters to try to move the water. With no water coming into the lake in the area of the thrusters they may be doing no good at all or even causing harm by stirring.
I thought about this last year and it is again crossing my mind. Is it time for another alum treatment? It locks the nutrients into the bottom of the lake for some time, although not permanently. It is expensive, I am guessing close to $200,000 for the treatment and that is strictly a guess. That is a lot of money but if it keeps the lake acceptable for ten years that is $20,000 per year when amortized. Again, I am just thinking out loud and I may be off base on this but it is a thought. I am not sure if reserves could be used for this expense but I would think so and we do have the reserves well enough funded to cover it. You may never hear another thing about this so don’t hold your breath. I have not researched this at all. Just “thinking out loud” to my friends.
Ken Dillenburg