Work on determining how to improve the water quality in Lake Titloe will continue. Gaylord’s City Council, last week, approved a proposal to study, plan and develop design solutions to clean up the lake.
Earlier this year, the City received $475,000 in State bonding money to be used for Lake Titloe cleanup efforts. The City is using $300,000 of this money for the rerouting of storm water lines that had been emptying into the lake. Those lines are now emptying into the stormwater pond on the east side of Gaylord.
The remaining $175,000 of the State bonding money is marked for studying, planning and producing design solutions to improve the water in the lake. The Lake Titloe committee’s study proposal, accepted by the City Wednesday, is expected to cost $168,590.
According to City Administrator Kevin McCann, there are two parts to the study proposal. The first part is expected to cost $90,590 and involves more water testing by Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). Part two involves Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) developing a plan to improve the water in the lake. The total cost for SEH’s work is estimated at $78,000.
Bryce Hoppie, a hydrology specialist from MSU, spoke to council members Wednesday. A grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has funded studying on the lake this year, according to Hoppie. He said MSU students have gathered water samples from Lake Titloe eleven times this season. This group is also studying the water coming into and leaving the lake, Hoppie explained.
Although official results require a full year of testing, initial studies indicate this is a low water quality lake, according to Hoppie. Studies show high algae early in the season. Hoppie said the water quality improves in late spring but then the algae kicks in again in July.
With the City’s approval, MSU will be able to complete its water testing. MSU’s proposal includes purchasing equipment for collecting water samples. There will be temporary testing stations in ditches and in the lake. Stations in the lake will be marked with flags, according to Hoppie.
SEH will then collect and assemble the data from MSU. Water specialists will create a computer model of the watershed which is approximately 38,000 acres, according to Justin Black of SEH. An implementation plan to improve the water entering the lake will then be developed, Black explained.
SEH will also prepare a final project report and submit it to the MPCA. This could “catapult” the lake onto the State’s impaired waters list, according to Black. If that was the case, there would be more funding opportunities to continue cleanup efforts, he explained.
The MSU water studies and the work by SEH is expected to take one year.
Council members voted 4-1 to accept the Lake Titloe Committee’s proposal to work with MSU and SEH. Council member Brenda Pautsch was opposed. She questioned why SEH was the only offer received for the work of implementing and developing a cleanup plan.
According to McCann, the Lake Titloe Committee recommended working with SEH on this project due to the past working relationship with the City and its knowledge of similar projects.
Because MSU students are being utilized, Hoppie told council members that all the work is being done for half the typical cost. “It is a very reasonable price range,” Hoppie said.