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Twin Lakes committee weighs options

The Roberts and Warren Twin Lakes Committee heard reports on studies done on Twin Lakes during it's Monday, July 1 meeting. The committee learned more about the problems caused by the flooded lakes, the causes of the flooding and discussed possible solutions.

Flooding issues

Town of Warren Chair and Twin Lakes Committee member Geno Hanson reported to the committee that the town of Warren has declared a state of emergency due to the Twin Lakes flooding.

"We want that documented," Hanson said. "This is the third time this has been done." Hanson said the water level is the highest it has ever been for this time of year.

Hanson listed problems caused by the flooding, including:

• Utility boxes near Twin Lakes, owned by St. Croix Electric, are totally submerged. Hanson said the boxes are waterproof.

• Flooding has prevented utility work.

• Roads, including 107th and 112th, have been closed at different points due to flooding. Hanson said adding more material to the roads to raise the level above the water is not practical at this point.

• Hanson and other committee members also voiced concerns about emergency vehicles reaching homes near Twin Lakes in case of an emergency.

• Committee members noted that while Twin Lakes depths have risen some over the years, the lakes have mostly expanded outward.

Reports

• According to a review of an Aquatic Vegetation Study produced by SEH and presented by Hanson, the algae levels are high in both lakes, and light penetration reaches only a few inches from the surface. There was a lack of submerged aquatic vegetation, according to the 2006 study, likely due to algae growth, increased water depths and nutrient enrichment. The study also noted that changes in groundwater have a big impact on surface water elevation for Twin Lakes.

• According to reports presented by Dan Funk, Twin Lakes was studied in 2009. A report found that Twin Lakes has seen an increase from about 32 inches of direct precipitation per year in 1974 to about 33 inches per year in 2018. In 1974, Twin lakes gained about three inches of water coming from the wastewater treatment plant each year. In 2018 that number was about six inches.

• Twin Lakes have risen about 4.1 inches per year since 2008, according to the report. A decrease in evaporation, Funk reported, has had a significant impact on the rising water levels.

• Funk presented to the board information regarding a 2016 plan for managing Bass lake in Somerset, which is a similar body of water to Twin Lakes. The DNR allowed Bass Lake to be pumped if water levels pass a threshold of 886 feet. Water was pumped out of Bass Lake to reduce lake levels and sent into the Willow River.

Options

The committee reviewed options for removing water from the lake as well as possible uses for that water.

• One option discussed was to send water to County Concrete, which uses up to 40,000 gallons of water per day to mix concrete.

• The committee also discussed the possibility of sending water to farmers for spray irrigation to irrigate crops. It was noted that it would take irrigating about 120 acres to help offset the six-inch-per-year increases from the wastewater treatment plant.

• The committee also discussed possible solutions such as pumping water to the Willow River near Boardman, Wis., or to the Willow or Mississippi rivers.

The committee did not make a decision regarding any possible solution. The possibility of a feasibility study was discussed to determine what solution might work best.

Co-chairs Katy Kapaun and Sande Traudt both spoke in favor of a feasibility study. They also discussed looking into what grants might be available to help fund such a study.

The committee will meet again on July 15 at the Warren Town Hall, and meet State Sen. Patty Schachtner and Rep. Shannon Zimmermann, who were both invited to tour Twin Lakes.

Hanson said he felt it was important to have both state government representatives present.

"And important to have bipartisan support," he said.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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