Committee says that a lower water level at Lake Wakanda would alleviate some flooding issues
WILLMAR -- Some of Willmar's flooding issues could be alleviated if the level of Lake Wakanda is lowered. The City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee voted Tuesday evening to recommend the council send a letter to the Minnesota Department of...
WILLMAR -- Some of Willmar's flooding issues could be alleviated if the level of Lake Wakanda is lowered.
The City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee voted Tuesday evening to recommend the council send a letter to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, asking the DNR to lower the lake level.
The committee's recommendation will be considered by the council at its Nov. 6 regular meeting.
The committee acted after City Administrator Michael Schmit said he was told by a member of the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners that the County Board would follow suit with a similar request if the city formally asked the DNR to lower Lake Wakanda levels.
The lake is located about three miles southeast of Willmar.
"What they're asking for is a letter from the City Council formally requesting the DNR to lower the lake level,'' Schmit said.
He said the basis for the request is to look at the big picture and to alleviate some potential flooding issues in the city. Schmit said he'd leave it up to the engineers to determine how much the lake would need to be lowered. He said the DNR has control of the dam, which is located on the south shore of the lake. He said the city's request would be made along with the county.
Schmit said there is an agreement that Wakanda's level affects the ability of city storm water to drain because the terrain is relatively flat. The lower the lake, according to Schmit, the greater the drainage capacity. Committee Chairman Doug Reese said there is "less than a foot of fall'' between Willmar and Lake Wakanda.
Schmit said the Grass Lake restoration project -- which would store and filter storm water before it flows into Wakanda and points farther south -- will not be effective unless Wakanda's water levels are addressed.
"What we're essentially saying is we think that the DNR should reconsider its position and hopefully with the support of the county we're requesting that the water level be lowered. The sole purpose of that is to help deal better with storm water drainage issues,'' he said.
In other business, the committee voted to recommend the City Council receive the report and order a hearing for Nov. 20 to consider $3.125 million in improvements in and near the Water View Business Park in southeast Willmar.
The improvement report was presented by Public Works Director Mel Odens. The improvements are street construction and reconstruction, installation of traffic signals and street lights, underground utility work and construction of walking paths.
The estimated cost will be shared three ways: assessments -- $1.71 million; city -- $1.4 million; and Municipal Utilities -- $15,000.
In other action, the committee recommended the council approve final payment to Willmar Electric Service of $14,270 on a $128,707 project to install path and street lights in various parts of town in 2005.
Also, the committee received an update on construction of the southern interceptor sewer line through Water View Business Park. S.J. Louis, the contractor, encountered wet soils during the second week of construction and is evaluating construction methods.
The interceptor will be the main pipe that will eventually carry municipal waste to the new wastewater treatment plant west of the city.
The report said Donohue and Associates, the consultants for the treatment plant project, is working with S.J. Louis to complete this difficult construction segment.