February 10, 2023 at 1:41 p.m.

Lake Improvement District annual meeting includes addressing salt from snow storage


By by DENISE MARTIN- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

An issue with the storage of excess urban plowed snow in Lindstrom was discussed at the Lake Improvement District Board’s annual meeting Monday night this week.  The city has been notified in the past that the practice of snow-piling on the west bluff of the bay on South Center Lake, needs to be reviewed and changed.  The accumulated snow  melts directly into the bay and based on recent lab analysis of the snowpile contents Lindstrom could be adding a salt load into South Center Lake of 500 to 700 pounds.

The LID Board has promoted the fact the lake  was delisted in 2021 for phosphorus concentrations that previously exceeded standards and which had caused South Center to be placed on impaired waters lists.  South Center has seen its phosphorus content improved through years of best management practices around the watershed to the point that it was “delisted.”

The concern for the piles is mostly due to road salt or chloride content.
 
For the first time this year, the LID tested pile contents.  

The snowmelt contains the equivalent of one half pound of salt per cubic yard or 350 milligrams per liter of run-off. The impairment standard for freshwater lakes is 230 milligrams per liter before it becomes a major concern.  The LID estimated contents of this year’s pile at 2,000 cubic yards.

LID managers (minus Steve Paquay and Todd McBride) had a cautious response this week to the letter proposed to be sent to Lindstrom. After much discussion they opted to try to re-write the letter for review at the LID meeting next month.

Gary Schumacher, an at large LID Board member, said he’d hate to see Lindstrom simply relocate the snowpiles to just another unacceptable location.  He suggested communications with Lindstrom include recommending suitable locations.

Executive Director Ben Elfelt said the letter offers the LID as a resource and stressed the organization wants to work in partnership to resolve the issue.
Member Jill Behnke said all the cities alongside the lakes are probably having issues with finding a suitable location for snow storage.

Attending the annual meeting representing the county Soil & Water Conservation District, Casey Thiel said the agency could work with the LID and develop a structure or filtration method to be used in a site where contaminants might be better managed.  The main problem here is the piles are set on the edge of the lake and the snow isn’t given space to experience any natural filtration.  She can look into other communities with abundant water bodies and see how they handle snow storage.

In other annual reports:
Boaters seem to be doing a good job removing boat plugs to inhibit the spread of aquatic invasive species. The landing inspections for last summer showed excellent compliance with following boat transport laws, such as allowing a boat to drain fully and not hold water.  There were 16,188 watercraft inspections done  between April and October.

A program to provide bait disposal at the launches will not be offered again this summer. There were seven bins provided through a DNR grant program, that were abused  leaving staff facing massive cleanup tasks.  Fishers are advised to bring home un-used bait and freeze it and get rid of it with household trash.

No new colonies of zebra mussels were found on the 72 sites (approximately 20 lakes) where volunteers monitor for these.

In 2022 the “Lawns to Legumes” program funded restoration and introduction of pollinator habitat of 18,000 linear feet of shoreline.  The program has been discontinued however.

Elections for two LID members was uncontested so the incumbents Mike Mergens and Gary Schumacher were re-seated.


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