Lake Crystal ramping up water quality improvement efforts

Lake Crystal ramping up water quality improvement efforts

LAKE CRYSTAL, Minn. (KEYC) — Water quality concerns in Lake Crystal are being addressed thanks to a group effort and the addition of a phosphorus removal system installed in Lake Crystal which is the first to be installed in the state.

Construction is underway for the installment of a phosphorus removal system at county ditch 56, an outlet into Crystal Lake.

“What the filter is comprised of is steel slag aggregates, it’s recycled material high in iron and calcium, so it acts as a magnet to those phosphorus molecules. It’ll come through the drain tile, enter through the filter tank and it will bind with those molecules and not release them,” said Blue Earth Soil and Water Conservation District conservation specialist, Jake Fritz.

The filter is proven in other areas to remove more than 90% of phosphorus in the water it treats.

“So of the water that we’ll be treating, we’re hoping to have up to 95% removal of dissolved phosphorus, so it’ll be really great for the water quality in Lake Crystal,” said ISG graduate engineer, Bailey Griffin.

The addition of the filter was made possible by a state grant received in 2016.

“This is a 75% cost share, the other 25% is to the land owner, in this case the Blue Earth County Drainage Authority is the landowner, the remaining 25% is in-kind contribution from Gustafson Drainage and Crystal Waters Project,” said Fritz.

Nutrient management is a common practice to improve water quality.

"Phosphorus is the limiting nutrient in the eutrophication in lakes so the less chance we have of phosphorus entering the lakes there's a greater chance we're not going to see those toxic algae blooms happen."

Group efforts made the year-long project a reality.

“Gustafson Drainage that has been kind enough to help us construct it, Blue Earth County Drainage, SWCD with Blue Earth County, the City of Lake Crystal and Crystal Waters Project have been really great to work with,” said Griffin.

Also involved in the project is ISG as an engineering consultant. The hopes are that construction will be completed on Friday.

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