City addressing Lake Alice odor [UPDATED]Published 10:50am Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Updated 10:50am Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Lake Alice smells bad. Worse than usual, even.
Lake residents have noticed this spring that the odor coming from the lake is more intense than usual. It also arrived earlier than usual, a possible result of the mid-summer-like temperatures that have visited Fergus Falls in March.
“The track kids were running around the lake and they were making comments about it,” said lake resident Mary Ann Colling. “Before, on windy days or whatever, you could smell the water … but this is definitely an odor, a very strong odor.”
“From what the field people tell me, the smell is coming off the mud, not the water,” said Pat Reisnour with Interstate Engineering, the firm doing work on Lake Alice’s beautification and road improvements.
Interstate has not yet tested the lake to determine the source of the smell, but Reisnour said it may be coming from the decay of some organisms that small fish in the lake had been eating. The prematurely warm weather may also be a factor in the smell, as Reisnour has noticed strong odors in other wetland areas this year as well.
If the smell is coming from the mud, there’s little Interstate can do.
“We’d have to visit with the city, because the only thing we can do is cover it with water,” said Reisnour.
Interstate originally planned to refill the lake in June, but the warm weather might allow that date to be moved up.
At Monday night’s city council meeting, Public Works Director Anne Martens said the city is aware of the situation and is disussing options with Interstate to fix the problem. One problem, she noted, is that there is no outlet for the city to flush the smelly material away.
Colling hopes the lake can get filled in sooner rather than later — not only for the smell, but for the appearance.
“It has definitely made an impact in people’s enjoyment as far as people walking around the lake and people living there,” she said.