City, Watershed District Join to Reduce Flooding

The Albert Lea City Council approved a joint powers agreement Monday night that aims to reduce flooding in Albert Lea.

The council and the Shell Rock River Watershed District agreed to collaborate on the Stables area flood mitigation project that involves taking excess rainwater and storing it upstream. The district is looking at constructing a large storm water basin south of the city transfer station on the north side of Albert Lea, on city property. The agreement gives the watershed district permission to construct the approximately 20-acre basin.

Bids have been put out for the project, said Andy Henschel, district director of field operations. The district plans on awarding a bid Oct. 13.

"We're looking at reducing flooding impacts throughout the city of Albert Lea and our local lakes," Henschel said. "We're trying to hold some more flood waters upstream from the lake to try to reduce the water level bounce in our lakes."

The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million and will be paid for through state funding and the half-cent sales tax the district has implemented.

The district will run storm water piping from the Stables area at a collection point where the water will be placed into the flood mitigation basin. The Stables area covers an approximately 438-acre area southwest of the transfer station.

Henschel anticipated construction to begin this year with completion in fall 2016. "Anything we can do to improve the quality of the water getting to the lakes is a benefit to residents," City Manager Chad Adams said.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007