How much are two ditches flowing into Lake Titloe contributing to its poor water quality?
That is a question geologists from Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU) have tried to answer. Funded by a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) grant, these ditches were monitored throughout 2008 and the results were reported earlier this month during a meeting at the library.
Judicial Ditch #18 and County Ditch #18 were monitored, according to MSU hydrology specialist Bryce Hoppie. He said Judicial Ditch #18 has an individual watershed and carries the “lion’s share”, or 68%, of the water that flows into Lake Titloe. County Ditch #18 carries 29% of the water that flows into the lake, according to Hoppie’s report.
Studies indicated that, while Judicial Ditch #18 carried the majority of water into the lake, most of the suspended solids and phosphorous were coming from County Ditch #18. Nearly 60% of all sediment and phosphorous going into the lake was coming from County Ditch #18, Hoppie explained.
It was also reported that “much more” sediment was washing into the lake than what was washing out. Hoppie estimated that there were 5,000 additional pounds of phosphorous monitored at the lake’s intakes than there was at the outlet.
Test results have led the MPCA to qualify Lake Titloe as an “impaired” body of water, according to Hoppie. This should lead to more funding opportunities for lake cleanup efforts in the future.
More water quality testing on Lake Titloe is planned for this season. Hoppie said monitoring equipment will be installed as soon as the ice leaves the lake. This equipment will provide up to the minute weather data which will be accessible via a Web site.
Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH), which is collecting and assembling data from MSU, also provided a report at the meeting earlier this month. According to Water Resource Engineer Ron Leaf, SEH will gather data and define areas and ways to improve Lake Titloe’s watershed. We need to verify which is the best area to focus on so we can get the best out of every dollar used for the improvements, Leaf explained. SEH will eventually prepare a final project report and submit it to the MPCA.
A budget of $78,000 has been budgeted for SEH’s work on Lake Titloe cleanup efforts. This is being funded by State bonding money the City received last year.
“It has been a long, slow process, but we are really starting to see some fruits of our efforts,” Lake Titloe Committee member Jim Swanson told those attending the meeting.
Larry Podratz is the chairman of the Lake Titloe Committee. He has scheduled the next meeting for Thursday, April 23rd. It will be held at the library beginning at 7:00 p.m.