Fountain Lake Restoration 2016-2017


Fountain Lake and its three bays, Bancroft, Danes, and Edgewater are central to the City of Albert Lea’s identity and tourism industry. The 555 acre lake, with its many adjacent parks, is a popular summertime destination for boating, swimming, water skiing, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.

In 2008, Fountain Lake was included on the Minnesota impaired waters list. As a result, the SRRWD has been partnering with the MPCA on a Total Maximum Daily Load study to determine pollution reductions strategies necessary to help the lake meet state water quality standards. Over the past 10 years, the summer average water quality in Fountain Lake has been only 1.5 feet, slightly below the Minnesota Pollution and Control Agency standards.

Fountain Lake has a tributary watershed of approximately 63,000 acres. The SRRWD and its partners have been proactive in their efforts to improve water quality in Fountain Lake. In addition to stabilizing upstream creeks, repairing failing septic systems, and managing rough fish populations in upstream lakes, the partners have actively promoted agricultural practices that support conservation efforts. While these recent measures have helped, overall phosphorus levels remain high.

A significant source of phosphorus in the lake is internal loading, ranging from 40 to 80%. Internal loading occurs when phosphorus laden sediment is reintroduced into the lake water column. Contributors to this resuspension can be wind and wave action, rough fish, and boats. The re-suspended phosphorus can then become fuel for algae to grow. Internal phosphorus loading can be challenging to control, however, success has been seen with hydraulic dredging.

Hydraulic dredging, which uses suction pumps and piping to move dredged material and water from the lake bottom directly to a storage or disposal site, is the best technique for sediment removal. The dredge material is typically disposed of at a permitted solid waste facility or off-site location. It can also be reused as fill, road sub-base, or in land applications.

The District has identified that it will be using a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) to dispose of the dredged material upstream of Fountain Lake. A CDF facility must have properties of both a wastewater treatment facility and a solid waste landfill to effectively work. A CDF that receives sediments must provide for the settling and dewatering of the sediments and primary treatment of the effluent water.


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