City has 53 bags of lake treatment

Published 9:20 am Friday, August 15, 2008

After confusion earlier this week about whether any copper sulfate was left from last year’s treatment of Fountain Lake, Albert Lea City Manager Victoria Simonsen said Thursday there is actually enough of the chemical left to treat more than half the lake.

To treat half of the lake for excessive algae would use a little more than 40 bags of the chemical, she said, and Albert Lea has 53 bags remaining.

The question about the remaining chemical arose Monday during the Albert Lea City Council meeting after a long discussion about whether to treat the lake to reduce its green hue. Albert Lean Karen Trow asked the council during the public forum section of the meeting about any remaining copper sulfate.

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At that time, Simonsen said she thought there was some of the chemical left but she was unsure of how much. She would look into the whereabouts of the copper sulfate and find out exactly how much remained.

“I personally was not aware that there was any left and did not even have any indication of that until right before the meeting,” she said. “This definitely was an internal communication issue that occurred, and I have discussed that with staff.”

Now that there is some of the chemical on hand, council members will have to decide whether they would like to move forward with the treatment of a portion of the lake this year or save the chemical for next year.

Simonsen said she was going to inform City Council members of the situation in the weekly letters she sends to them each Friday.

“If they want me to do something yet this year, I can, but I guess at this point I’m not really planning on it,” she said.

Before the treatment can begin, the Department of Natural Resources has to issue a permit, and 51 percent of property owners have to give written permission for the treatment.

“The issue about having to have the signatures came to light this year,” Simonsen said.

There is still confusion about exactly what the requirements for it are, she said. Different people are interpreting it in different ways; even a representative from the Southwest Regional Office of the DNR is contacting a representative on the state level for clarification.

“It’s still very confusing to me,” she said.

The rules have been in place since April 2, 1997, but the DNR has not enforced them before this summer. DNR rules also state how much notice is required before the treatment and how long people have to stay out of the water after the treatment.