Lake Alice plans still in worksPublished 11:16am Friday, August 16, 2013
Getting Lake Alice back to its natural state is still a possibility, though it’s in the planning phases right now. City staff are working on options, following an engineering study in January.
“What the council is waiting on right now is basically a recommendation from the staff,” said City Engineer Dan Edwards. “We’re hoping to provide that to them after this construction season.”
Based on the report from Interstate Engineering presented to the Fergus Falls City Council, a plan to restore Lake Alice could cost up to $5 million. The funds would drain the lake, remove the sediment that contains the phosphorus — the chemical causing the lake’s bright-green color — refilling the lake with good-quality water, reconstructing the storm sewer system around the lake and creating a method of filtering the sediment out of the storm water, according to Chris McConn, from Interstate Engineering.
Once city staff have some viable options to give to the council, then it can start to look at them and decide how to proceed with the project, according to Edwards. One thing they’re looking at is to see how they could break it up into phases.
The next step would be applying for grants for the project to help lower the cost. Edwards doesn’t see any work taking place for the project until 2015.
“It’s still quite a ways out,” Edwards said.
Focusing on the storm water will likely be a key factor for the project, to prevent the same problems from reoccurring, according to Edwards.
“The biggest contributor to the problem… has been storm water coming into the lake for decades,” Edwards said.
That’s what has carried in some of the phosphorus to the water.
In January, McConn presented a couple options for the storm water. One would be to make the north section of Lake Alice into a wetland by building a dike across the lake, and then diverting storm water into it. The other would divert the storm sewers to the Otter Tail River, and then construct concrete grit traps to remove the sediment.
But it’s ultimately up to the council to decide what to do.
The city still receives a number of concerns from residents regarding Lake Alice. Edwards noted that this summer in particular, the lake hasn’t gone to “its pre-project levels,” because of a lower water level.
For now, staff will continue to work on a plan and hope to present it to the council this winter or early spring. Then it will set up the necessary public meetings to get input from the public and decide how to proceed with bringing Lake Alice back to the way it was.