Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, June 11, 2001

Lake organization raises pollution concerns

By Patrice Waldron

Several members of the Winsted Watershed Lake Association voiced their concerns about the lake being polluted by city activities at Tuesday's Winsted City Council meeting.

The first concern was that the Kingsley Street lift station was frequently inoperable, and when it's not working, raw sewage gets dumped into Winsted Lake, said Dave Mochinski, president of the association.

He wondered if there were any upgrades or improvements available.

City Clerk Betty Zachmann assured Mochinski that the lift station has only been inoperable very sporadically.

When the city crew was consulted, it was thought that the last time there was a problem, was in 1997, due to severe weather, and the accumlation of more than a couple inches of rain over a two-day period.

When there is heavy rainfall (three inches or more) over a short amount of time, the lift station can be overloaded. The lift station is not actually breaking down, it just can't keep up with the water flow.

Oftentimes, there is water from other sources - gutters, sump pumps, etc. - that is going into the sanitary sewer, where it really shouldn't be going.

As part of the state regulations that the city must follow, each city has a place where it is acceptable to send the contents of the sanitary sewer line in an emergency. In Winsted, the state allows the line to drain into Winsted Lake.

"We're just trying to eliminate as much waste as possible," said Mochinski.

It was briefly explained that in a power outage, which would leave the lift station inoperable, there is a dialer in place that will notify on operator. PeopleService, which maintains the lift stations, is notified and will then come out to hook-up a generator while the lift station is being repaired.

Because it generally takes a few hours to hook up a generator if there's a problem, it was questioned as to why there's only one generator.

It was stated that the generator must remain at the sanitary sewer plant, and that the price for another generator is thought to be about $50,000, said Zachmann. She will check into the price.

When questioned as to the long range plans of the city, "to be in compliance with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and our permits with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)," said Guggemos.

Another point of concern was the amount of sand found on the steeply sloped banks by the public works department.

It was estimated that several inches of sand is present on the slope, explained Hausladen. Also of concern is the fact that the sand, which is used on the roads in the winter, contains salt, which might make it into the lake.

When questioned, a member of the Winsted Public Works Department explained that the only snow that gets pushed in the direction of the lake is the snow that it directly in front of the garage doors of the shop, those which face the lake.

That snow must be removed in order to get the vehicles out of the garage.

"The city really seemed to do a very good job to clean up the sand on the streets very early," said Hausladen.

Holy Trinity cemetery

A variance is needed by Holy Trinity cemetery, because years ago, when the road was put in, a mistake was made in its placement.

At this time, some of the grave sites, which have been in place for years, are too close to the road.

New stakes were recently put in marking the setback from the road.

It was cautioned that whomever cuts the grass for the cemetery, to be very careful to not move the stakes.

We stopped selling any graves within 10 feet of the curb, stated Gene Hausladen Holy Trinity cemetery sexton.

"We want to be extremely safe," said Hausladen.

According to the Rev. Paul Wolf, there are about 20 graves located in the setback area.

When questioned as to who would pay for the survey, if necessary, it was stated that the property owner normally pays for the survey fees.

The questions regarding the road setbacks in relation to the cemetery arose after the huge amount of snowfall this past winter. Snow may have inadvertantly ended up very close to the graves in an attempt to remove the snow from the road.

Both the City of Winsted and Holy Trinity are willing to work togehter to meet the needs of all people involved.

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