By Jennifer Kotila
COKATO, MN The Cokato City Council approved the funding of a point intercept survey of Brooks Lake at last Monday’s meeting that could lead to clarity improvements.
The request for the funding came from the president of the Brooks Lake Association, Manda Goldsbury.
She informed the council that the Brooks Lake Association formed four years ago when it was noticed that the lake had deteriorated significantly.
The clarity in the lake ranges from 15 feet to 1.5 feet at different times throughout the year, and the invasive weeds in the lake are becoming worse.
Curly-leaf pondweed, which begins growing before the ice is out in the spring and dies early in the summer, is the main concern at this time for the lake, Goldsbury said.
The lake association has given the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources $250 per year to test the lake.
In order to be eligible for grants to help return the lake to a more favorable state, a point-intercept survey must be done.
A point intercept survey takes core samples at 100 to 125 points throughout the lake, once in the early spring, and once in the fall, to test for native and invasive plant species.
Once the survey is completed, the Brooks Lake Association can create a lake management plan and begin treating the lake for invasive weed species, Goldsbury said.
The council agreed the survey would benefit the lake. “It would be great to see the lake being used as a swimming beach again,” noted Council Member Carl Harju.
It was noted that the cost of the survey is $1,250, and will come out of the park commission budget.
Problems with city infrastructure
The City of Cokato has installed flow meters in 11 strategic locations throughout the city, according to public works director Jeff DeGrote.
The city engineer, Eric Lembke of Bonestroo, will have a report ready in May to present to the council.
Mayor Gordy Erickson asked about preliminary findings at the council meeting.
Cokato’s wastewater treatment plant has excessive loading problems, and the flow meters and data collected will indicate how much loading each area is contributing to the overall number reported at the plant.
A tremendous amount of infiltration, or water entering the sanitary sewer lines through leaky pipes, has been seen throughout the system, said Council Member Butch Amundsen.
He noted that packing needs to be done around the pipes to keep the infiltration out.
“I thought it was interesting the amount of infiltration there was by the school,” Amundsen said, noting school was closed, but there was still a large amount of water running by the lift station at the elementary school.
“I can say that initial findings of the condition of the structure and sewer flows that was being monitored was disturbing,” Lembke wrote in a letter to the city council.
He noted that these findings were not completely unexpected, considering the city has talked about improvement plans to the city’s infrastructure several times in the past few years, but funding was always an issue.
“Based on my observations, this matter of the overall integrity of the system needs to be discussed again,” Lembke said. “A plan to address and correct the problems [needs to] be developed in the near future.”
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard information on a city-wide cleanup effort.
The city has started inspections efforts, and residents and businesses are being surveyed and contacted to ensure compliance with the new ordinance.
The city staff will be working closely with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office regarding ordinance enforcement and the issuance of citations.
• renewed an agreement with Brian Matthew Hauer Enterprises for residential recycling of electronics. The service is offered three times per year at no cost to the city.
• approved a temporary liquor license to the Fireman’s Relief Association for a street dance Saturday, Aug. 6.
• authorized staff to develop specifications and call for bids for a new pay loader for the public works department.
• renewed the contract with Stipe Shows for the Corn Carnival.