Save Lake Hallett! Learn how!
In The Press
St. Peter Herald Apr 22, 1999
Mankato Free Press Aug 5, 1999
Mankato Free Press
Mankato Free Press Apr 14, 2000
St Peter Herald Feb 8, 2001
Mankato Free Press Apr 6, 1999
Mankato Free Press Apr 16, 1999
Mankato Free Press May 11, 1999
St. Peter Herald Jul 15, 1999
St. Peter Herald Jul 22, 1999
St. Peter Herald Apr 13, 2000
• History For 2010 (word).
• History For 2010 (pdf). Jan-Aug
• History For 2009 (word).
• History For 2009 (pdf). Jan-Dec
• History For 2008. Jan-Dec 2008,
with Oct 2007 update.
• History For 2007.
• February 2007 -
Winterfest in Saint Peter
• March 2007 - Upon completion of the Monitoring Plan
for Lake Hallett the Association received a $1500 grant to help them to
implement it. The plan will determine if the city's use of the lake for
storm water has impaired the water quality so as to require cleanup or
- The Saint Peter Fire Department once again holds a
kids fishing contest on Lake Hallett. This year there were 174
participants. That's twice the number in 2005.
- The Sheriff's department held a first time Polar
Plunge. There were 110 plungers and over $20,000 was raised for Special
• April 2007 - On April 4th, Eleven days after the
sewage spill, Trudi Olmanson, president of the Lake Hallett Association
and also a private property owner on Lake Hallett hears about it and
confronts Lew Giesking of Saint Peter Public works. He confirms that
there was 30,000 gallons of sewage that spilled but claims an alarm
system is now in place. He denies any sewage could possibly have gone
into the lake. Because of the obvious possibility of sewage going into
the lake through the leaky storm sewer we request an e.coli test be
taken to assure the safety of the community using the lake. We also
request that the Lake Hallett Association be notified of any similar
incidents in the future, which could jeopardize the safety of people
using the lake, so the public can be warned.
- On the 25th of March 2007 Saint Peter's new
multi-million dollar state of the art Waste Water Treatment Plant backs
up when all 3 pumps fail. There is no alarm system in place. A passerby
notices sewage pouring out of the East loading dock doors and calls
police. Over 30,000 gallons of partially treated sewage spills out of
the building. The city washes it into the storm detention basin where
some of it spills into Lake Hallett through the leaky storm sewer. The
City keeps news of the sewage spill very quiet. There are no media
reports. Neither the public nor the private property owners living on
the lake nor the Lake Hallett Association are informed.
- On March 28th we talk with Jeff Knutson, City of St.
Peter, and his crew who are working to fix the leaky storm sewer we
have been expressing concern about for several months. We tell them
it's great that something is finally being done. We wondered why the
crew was reluctant to talk with us. The sewage spill is still a secret
at this time.
- Trudi Olmanson & David Hoehn become certified
Citizen Water Monitors after completing training through Minnesota
• May 2007 - After several requests Pete Moulton calls
and presents us with a document that shows the City of Saint Peter's
test results on the stormwater basin taken in March 2007. see test results This shows there is no problem as the
fecal coliform is very low. The lake has still not been tested.
- We report the City of Saint Peter's Sewage Spill to
the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) duty officer. We talk
with several people at the MPCA, including Dave Morrison, Craig
Schaefer and Teri Roth. It would seem the City of Saint Peter has not
reported this spill as required by State and Federal law because no one
at the MPCA knew about it. It's unfortunate that when a municipality
knowingly violates our state and federal environmental laws there seems
to be no consequences. At least this has been our experience with Lake
Hallett and the City of Saint Peter.
- April 7 we ask for a copy of the e.coli test we
requested the City of Saint Peter take to assure public safety on Lake
Hallett. Lew Giesking assures us the test was fine but can't find a
copy of the test. He claims Jeff Knutson has them. Jeff claims he gave
them to Lew. Pete Moulton finally tells us on April 23rd the lake was
- The Lake Hallett Association again requests that the
City of Saint Peter test Lake Hallett for e.coli to ensure the safety
of people using the lake.
• June 2007 - 14 June : After discussing the results
with Barb Liukkenen (U of M Water Resources Department) we present our
test results to Pete Moulton and Lew Giesking of the City of Saint
Peter Public Works Department.
- Great turnout for the Lake Hallett Association annual
- May 7 Kevin Petry, Tom Hausenbauer, Trudi Olmanson
and Paul Schwichtenberg all complete training for the Citizen's
Bacteria Monitoring Program. Barbara Liukkenen of the Water Resources
Department oversees this University of Minnesota program.
- The Lake Hallett Association begins monitoring Lake
Hallett for e.coli bacteria. E.coli is a subgroup of fecal coliform
bacteria, which comes from animal and/or human waste. We test the
effluent from the storm water basin coming into the lake through the
leaky storm sewer and the results are dangerously high. We also test
the North beach area.
colony forming units)
|The standard for E. coli
All of our test results are well above the one time standard. This is a
serious public health issue. The fact that the e.coli spikes after a
rain indicates likely contamination in the silt of the detention basin.
- The geometric mean based on not less than five
samples within a 30-day period shall not exceed 126 E. coli colonies
per 100 ml of water; and
- Content shall not exceed 235 E. coli colonies
per 100 ml of water in a single sample.
• July 2007 - E.coli results continue to be high from
leaking pipe, particularly after rain. Pete Moulton informs me the City
had flushed the pipe out into the lake before they did the first e.coli
- We are concerned that the March sewage spill was
never cleaned up and it seems obvious this is where the e.coli is
coming from. Lew Giesking refuses to admit this is a possibility and
speculates it's from the watershed somewhere.
- 21 June : Trudi Olmanson met with Leo Getsfried(DNR),
Jacquelyn Baligalupi (DNR), Lew Giesking (City of St. Peter) and Amy
(City of St. Peter) to walk around the lake and identify problems and
discuss solutions. There are many areas of erosion that should be
addressed. Basically healthy vegetation and good water quality.
- Talk to the police department again about the
littering, underage drinking and smoking, trespassing, large groups of
kids gathering and vandalism that continue to be problems on Lake
Hallett. There have also been several stolen bikes dumped and a stolen
car this summer. Still no police presence.
• August 2007 - Private raft again vandalized - rope
to anchor is cut and police are called again.
- Lou Seely states the option for the development
company working with Wal Mart expires the end of the year.
- Called Carol Johnson at the Public Health Department
to let her know our most recent tests were still very high in e.coli
and that Pete Moulton had stated the city would test after a rain.
Carol informed us the city had been testing every week. Although we had
requested copies of all tests, the results were not shared with us.
- Privately to several individuals Todd Prafke (City
Administrator) has stated there will be a 100-foot setback from Lake
Hallett for any development. At a City Council workshop both Todd
Prafke and Russ Wille (Economic Development Director) told the Friends
of Lake Hallett there would be a 200-foot setback. This has not been
confirmed in a public statement nor has it been put it in writing.
Statements from City officials lead us to believe that the city is not
planning on requiring any setback and that these statements are not
- Save the Kasota Prairie, inc. agrees to be the fiscal
agent for the Lake Hallett Association and/or the Friends of Lake
Hallett should we have an opportunity to purchase the Lake Hallett Area
- Private property is vandalized. Lawn furniture is
stolen and someone has defecated on the swimming raft. Police called
• September 2007 - As part of our monitoring plan we
analyze secchi disc data since 1998 and realized the city polluting
Lake Hallett has dropped the water clarity of this once pristine lake
almost 6 feet in 9 years!!!!! Link To Stuff
- Finally police presence! 5 juveniles busted at 2am
for curfew violation on South beach - many others fled.
- 19 August heavy rains caused the storm detention
basin to overflow into Lake Hallett. and both the South and North
swimming beach areas tested dangerously high in e.coli.: 1413.6 cfus -
this is more than 11x higher than the e.coli standard of 126 cfus. Link To Come The levels stayed high for 4 days.
Although beaches are closed at 126 cfus because of the health risk the
City of St. Peter still does not put up any warning signs even though
the level is so high.
- City puts up signs by storm detention basin that say
"Hallett Park Stormwater Basin". It would seem this is the area park
they have talked about - on the basin, not the lake.
- 22 August Algae blooms form huge mats on the lake as
a direct result of the storm water overflow 3 days before. The algae
shows characteristics of poisonous algae which has been a greater
problem in recent years due to storm water. A dog recently died in Lake
Crystal from wading in poisonous algae and licking it off.
- 24 August Storm sewer is no longer leaking. The City
put on a temporary patch until the system is repaired.
- 25 August Storm sewer leaking again.
• October 2007 - Talked to Lee Ganske (Minnesota
Pollution Control Agency MPCA) about the City's responsibility to clean
up the sewage spill. He said Teri Roth is working with them to teach
them to limit the impact of future spills on Lake Hallett. Although
this spill is directly affecting the lake with e.coli contamination
that is a health department issue, not MPCA. The health department has
not been very helpful either. Unfortunately someone will probably have
to get sick and sue the City before anything is done. He also claimed
the MPCA does not have the legal backing to force the city to stop
polluting the lake.
- Free Press runs article about the e.coli problem in
Lake Hallett.Link To Stuff
- Letter to editor appears in both Free Press
(09/07/07) and St. Peter Herald ((09/13/07) Link To
- Amy tells us there is a "balloon" with a hole in it
plugging the leaky storm sewer but the city crews are checking it every
day and blowing it up as needed.
- The Lake Hallett Association trashcan that has been
paid for and maintained by the Association on the south beach of the
lake for over 3 years disappeared. The city removed the misspelled
property boundary signs that have been in place for many years and
replaced them with "public property border" signs. "Wetland
delineation" signs are in place on the West side of the lake in
preparation for repairs to the leaky storm sewer. A special permit is
required from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) if anything
below the high water mark of a lake is disturbed.
- 24 September upon inquiry, Lew Giesking informs us
the Lake Hallett Association trashcan was removed because it had
"political commentary" on it and that violated a city ordinance.
Apparently no one from the city had ever read it in the over 3 years it
had been there. Lew stated that someone from the city would return the
- 27 September we asked Lew Giesking, since the City of
Saint Peter is advertising the Lake Hallett area as a city park would
they consider taking over the responsibility of providing and
maintaining a trashcan on the city property? Our question was not
answered. We also asked why the City of Saint Peter advertises the
public access to the Lake Hallett city park as being near Saint Julien
Street and Old Main Ave when this is all private property and the
nearest city property is 4 blocks West at the Waster Water Treatment
Plant. Again no answer.
• November 2007 - Work continues on the Lake Hallett
Association Monitoring plan. All summer we have tested for Phosphorous,
Chlorophyll "a", e.coli, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Diesel Range
Organics (DRO) and Gasoline Range Organics (GRO). We also monitored
lake level and water clarity with a secchi disc. The final report will
be available on this site after January 1 2008.
- 10 October There is an increasing litter problem
around the lake since the removal of the Lake Hallett Association trash
can. Bottles, bait containers and other garbage are along the shore and
in the lake. We are still waiting for an answer to our questions about
the city's responsibility for trash removal on Lake Hallett. We have
sent 3 requests in 2 weeks and not had a reply. We are also waiting for
the return of the Lake Hallett Association garbage can.
- 11 October we receive a response from Lew Giesking
stating the city will place a "curbie" (or trashcan) near the location
where the Lake Hallett Association had maintained one for many years
and city staff will service it. We hope that eventually the city will
take the responsibility to maintain the city property around Lake
Hallett as well as they do the other city parks.
- We are still waiting for the return of the Lake
Hallett Association trashcan. We are also waiting for a response to our
concerns that the city is advertising private property as the public
access in both the Yellow phone book and on the City's website. The
advertised access is 4 blocks from the actual access and it's been very
confusing for people.
- Bob Shoemaker brings the High school ecology class to
Lake Hallett for water studies.
- 14 October Latin Kings graffiti is written all over
buildings near the south side of the lake.
- 17 October The city provided trash can is put in
- 18 October The leaky storm sewer is really blocked!
Although the water in the basin would normally be overflowing it is
not. Wonderful! No e.coli in Lake Hallett today.
- 21 October Graffitti problem worsens. The trees and
rocks around the lake are also painted with Latin King symbols.
• December 2007 - 3 December City crews use a
bulldozer to spread wood mulch on the south shoreline like a "beach".
- 4 December The trees between the 2 "boat landings" on
the south shore are bulldozed down and a large "beach" of wood mulch is
spread in their place. This mulch contains bits of plastic bags,
bottles, bungee cords and other trash. We are not sure if they are just
getting rid of it or what? It seems a very poor choice as it is
nutrient rich and will cause algae blooms if it gets into the lake. We
have asked many times, for years, in writing and verbally of Todd
Prafke and Lew Giesking that they keep us informed of things they are
doing that affect Lake Hallett. It would seem that informing the public
about city activities is not a part of the City's policies.
2006 - The storm sewer
• April 2006 - Buffleheads, mallards, cormorants,
merganser and a single loon all stop on the lake.
- When asked Pete Moulton, City of St. Peter, states
the city is "trying something new" by keeping it closed and then
proceeded to spew technicalities of when it may be reopened.
- Asked Lew Giesking about the closed storm sewer. He
stated it was closed because we (the LHA) wanted it closed (after 8
years of fighting?!) When asked about restrictions on reopening the
storm sewer he claimed he was not aware of any. Trudi Olmanson informed
him there are restrictions that he has been informed of and should be
aware of. The city is not allowed to dump polluted water into Lake
Hallett whenever they feel like it. He then stated the storm water was
still going into the lake - through the ground and that was the same as
pouring it in through the storm sewer. Earth is a wonderful filter for
- Called Ken Moon who sent the LHA a copy of the letter
sent to the city. States he did not tell them they had to close the
storm sewer but if they are under that impression we should leave it
- The St. Peter Fire Department holds a youth
ice-fishing contest on Lake Hallett as part of the Winterfest
activities. It was bitterly cold but 70 kids register. Because of the
tiny area owned by the city all of the amenities are on Northern Conagg
property - food, garbage, toilets and parking. It will be a huge loss
for the community if this area is developed.
• May 2006 - First Annual Minnesota
Carp Classic on Lake Hallett. Many kids signed up and participated. The
winner is Brandon Palmquist. The largest carp is 11 lbs 9 oz.
- Due to restructuring of Department of Natural
Resources territories the Lake Hallett fisheries office changes from
Waterville to Hutchinson. We contact Gene Jeseritz and Leo Goetsfried
about water quality problems on Lake Hallett.
- Friends of Lake Hallett is formed to concentrate on
acquiring property and developing a nature area.
- The Lake Hallett Association continues to focus on
water quality and compliance with state laws.
• June 2006 - Gene Jeseritz does a fish
survey on Lake Hallett. His team is very impressed with the clarity of
the water and the health of the fishery and would not recommend
stocking at this point. He also states there is no carp problem. Leo
Goetsfried meets with the city about Lake Hallett.
- Gene Jeseritz joins us at a Friends of Lake Hallett
meeting. Lew Giesking also joins us. Gene makes it very clear that the
city will be fined if they dump any more silt into Lake Hallett through
the storm sewer. There is an estimated 12 feet of silt that the city
has already dumped into the lake. Lew claims the DNR is taking away the
rights of the city to dump storm water into the lake. The city paid for
this right in the 60's (for $1). Hallett's construction had no right to
sell a public waters. Lake Hallett is a Class 5 Public Protected
Wetland. This will never change.
- Heavy rain dumps 3 inches in 4 hours. Storm water
pours into the lake. The water level raises 14 inches in 24 hours. The
visibility drops from 20 feet to 4 feet.
• August 2006 - Mayor Tim Strand, City
Council Member Kimberly Schultz and Leo Goetzfried, DNR Hydrologist,
join us at a Friends of Lake Hallett meeting. Todd Prafke and Lew
Giesking were invited but did not attend. Leo offers his assistance to
the City to educate them in ways to maintain the water quality in Lake
Hallett. Kimberly asks us to write up our vision for the area and
present it to the Parks & Recreation board. Tim and Kimberly were
very receptive to our concerns and it was a good meeting.
• September/October 2006 - Kevin Petry,
Tom Hausenbauer, Paul Schwichtenberg and Trudi Olmanson attend training
for developing a Lake Monitoring Plan. Only 6 groups were chosen out of
30 applicants. It's a very intensive process and we hope to be able to
gauge and assess the health of Lake Hallett next summer.
• October 2006 - Judy Ahlstrom and
Rebecca Arsenault present our vision to the Parks and Rec board. It is
The Friends of Lake Hallett Ideas:
Emphasize Nature Area
- Native Vegetation - (better suited for the area, non
- Soft Surface Path - (Possibly woodchips, minimize
- Locate path the maximum distance from the lakeshore
(the City owns a 35 foot wide strip and plans an vfoot wide path - the
larger the bufer area the better for lake water quality)
- Natural non-mowed buffer between lake and path (this
will discourage problem geese)
- Handicapped accessible fishing pier
- Open Dusk to Dawn (no artificial lighting)
- Consider no restroom or off premise restroom to
- Allow pets but aggressively enforce waste rules and
provide garbage cans for waste disposal.
- Signage for littering fines
- add additional property when funding becomes available
• June 2005 - Emailed Ken Moon, MPCA, a
picture of the storm sewer spewing into Lake Hallett. As he said "now
you've got my attention". He was very surprised Dave Morrison, MPCA,
had approved this.
Talked to Lew Giesking. Insisted on calling the lake a "storm detention
basin". That must mean the pressure is on.
• August 2005 - Called Todd Prafke
about new storm water fee. He estimated it would bring in $160,000 per
Bolton and Menk estimated it would cost $300, 000 to divert the storm
water away from the lake. If the city of St. Peter decided to be
proactive and avoid future water quality problems it could be paid for
in 2 years.
Ken Moon is working with the city to work through the requirements for
the basin. He's trying to get the city to take preventive measures and
lessen the sediment discharge. He states the basin should be cleaned
every 5 - 15 years.
• October 2005 - In early October Jeff
Miller, St. Peter High School Science teacher, informs me his class was
unable to find daphnia in the lake. Is mosquito control poisons used by
the city in the storm sewers affecting the bottom of the food chain or
is something else going on?
We got a heavy rain of 2.5". The storm water raises the lake level
5.25" in 24 hours.
Discussed Mosquito control measures with Windy Block, City of St.
Peter. The methods are state approved.
Mid October we find plenty of daphnia, copepods and phytoplankton.
Pictures on www.lakehallett.com
Trudi Olmanson sold a photo taken on Lake Hallett of the storm sewer
pouring into the lake for use on a brochure for the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation for $200.
• December 2005 - Mankato Free Press
breaks the news of an upcoming Walmart in the Lake Hallett area.
• January 1 - The storm sewer that the
City of St. Peter insists must be opened every winter to drain into
Lake Hallett remains closed. In 2002 we succeeded (with the help of the
MPCA) in requiring that the sewer be closed before the spring thaw and
remain closed until it starts to freeze. At this time the city insists
the basin has to go into "winter mode" to prevent freezing of the storm
sewers that drain into the basin. We suspect that the City just forgot
to open it but as we are eternal optimists (We have to be!!) we are
always hopeful that the Powers-That-Be are starting to "get it" and are
actually making an effort to protect this valuable community asset!
• March 2004 - For the second year in a row Lake
Hallett is covered with an algae bloom as soon as the ice came out.
This indicates a detrimentally high level of phosphorous. City
Officials continue to keep their heads stuck so far in the sand as to
ignore the obvious cause is the storm sewer draining into Lake Hallett.
This year the "official" city explanation is the fish are polluting the
lake. Past years the pollution has been blamed on scuba divers, trees,
a non-functioning outhouse and wind currents.
• April 2004 - Noticed planting of trees on Gault
Street Storm Detention Basin so inquired of Lew Geisking (head of St.
Peter Public Works) if the City now had a park plan for Lake Hallett.
Lew stated the city plans to put a path around Lake Hallett on the 30
feet of lakeshore that is owned by the city (Please see a copy of this
plan at www.lakehallett.com). When I told him that this violated the
state shoreline ordinance he stated the city is also interested in
acquiring the property of the two homeowners on Lake Hallett so the
path can go all the way around the lake. Lew sent the Lake Hallett
Association a copy of the plan, which was dated November 2003, and is
now on the website. Lew Giesking also stated he believed the degrading
water quality of Lake Hallett was due to the overpopulation of fish.
The fish are polluting the lake and the city is planning to poison the
lake to kill all the fish and take care of this problem. Incredulously
I asked if he was serious and he assured me he was. I asked him how the
city could possibly continue to completely ignore the detrimental
effects of the storm water the city is dumping into Lake Hallett. This
was the end of our conversation.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has
assured us that they would not issue a permit to kill Lake Hallett and
that it would be illegal for the City of St. Peter to pursue this plan
without the proper permit.
Minnesota Lakes Association and Rivers Council
Conference held in Deerwood, Minnesota. LHA President Trudi Olmanson
Public Access to Lake Hallett opens with the opening of
Big algae bloom - found 4 dead frogs and a dead bass.
The lake smells awful.
- It appears someone is living in his or her car on the
south side of the lake.
- Found hundreds of empty cold medicine packets and
other meth making objects.
- Fire burned an area approximately 10 X 40 feet.
- St. Peter police continue to fail to respond to
requests to monitor the area.
Saw 4 hawks and a blue heron.
Talked to Bill Thompson MPCA. States algae bloom is
likely not poisonous. More common to occur in the Fall. Also states the
city has no obligation to maintain the detention basin.
• May 2004 -
Prolific growth of Curly Leaf Pondweed is noted and a growing
population of Carp. The pondweed thrives on excess phosphorous and the
carp thrive on excess weeds.
• June 2004 - Lake Hallett Cleanup gets easier every
year. This year we had 24 volunteers - we were pleased to see a lot of
A garbage can was placed and is being maintained by the Lake Hallett
Association on the South side of the lake. This seems to be helping a
lot with our litter problem although there are always some who can't
seem to figure out what a garbage can is for.
The State of Minnesota is planning to set nutrient levels for lakes in
the state. This good news means that eventually the City of St. Peter
will have to discontinue using Lake Hallett as a storm detention basin.
The cost will depend upon whether the City waits until it is forced by
state law to meet the codes or takes action before Lake Hallett needs
expensive water treatments to recover its water quality.
Conversing with Bruce Wilson, Keith Cherryholmes and
Sarah Konrad about what can be done. Ms. Conrad is checking into
legality of the basin
• July 2004 -
The shores of the lake have been filled with curly leaf pondweed and
algae for much of the summer but there have been some good days where
the lake looks like it did before the stormwater problems.
Blandings Turtle spotted on July 18th.
Saw three deer by the lake.
• December 2004 - Bottom storm sewer is opened for
"winter mode". Still talking to MPCA and DNR. What can we do? The water
quality of the lake is degrading quickly!
- The nets the City is using for the rip rap around the
detention basin is trapping the wildlife. 8 birds and 1 turtle rescued
- Pete Moulton informs me the City is planning on
building a 12-foot wide gravel road around the lake just like around
the Gault street detention basin.
• March - Lake Hallett
suffered from a serious algae
bloom completely covering the lake with bright green algae immediately
after ice-out. Hugh Valiant of the DNR visited the lake and expressed
concern about the excessive phosphorous that caused this phenomenon.
Hopefully this does not signal a more rapid demise than expected of
Lake Hallett due to it's use as a storm detention basin.
• April 1 - Trudi Olmanson is a guest on the SPPA
"Bob's Show". We discuss the recent water quality problems and Bob
reminisces about the good times he spent on Lake Hallett when it was
the public swimming hole in the 30's.
• April & May - Algae blooms continue to hinder
the recreational enjoyment of Lake Hallett varying in color from brown
• May - The storm sewer which by Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency directive is to be closed before spring thaw remains
open. Inquiries as to why go unanswered.
• May 17 - 2 large dead bass wash up on lakeshore.
• June 7 - The Lake Hallett Association receives
correspondence from Todd Prafke stating that contracts have been
authorized to make improvements and repairs to the Gault Street
Detention Basin. The Lake Hallett Association worked very hard to get
this basin built in 2001. Although the City of St. Peter was required
to build it to comply with the Clean Water Act to treat the storm water
before it entered the lake, it somehow was ommitted from the plans. It
took a lot of help from the MPCA to have this oversight corrected.
Unfortunately it was poorly constructed and began to erode immediately
resulting in additional silt filling in Lake Hallett. This defeated the
whole purpose of the basin, which was to offer some protection to the
water quality of the lake not add to its destruction. For 2 years we
tried to work with the City and the MPCA to have this basin properly
built and maintained. This correspondence was wonderful news!!!
• June 11 - Construction begins on basin! Pete Moulton
calls to inform us that because of the construction the storm sewer
will remain open. Lake Hallett Association President, Trudi Olmanson as
well as St Peter City Administrator, Todd Prafke, are interviewed by
Pat Rosenow for her SPPA Connections show. Pat did a wonderful job!
This can be viewed at www.lakehallet.com.
• June - Over 100 dead sunfish are counted along the
shoreline on June 17. By June 20th the count is almost 200. Initially
there's concern that the city's plan to put larvicide in all the storm
sewers to kill mosquitos may be the cause but Windy Block assures us no
larvicide has been applied yet. The DNR investigates and speculates the
most likely cause is a bacterial infection that will clear up in time.
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of gallons of storm water pour out of
the sewer directly into Lake Hallett as the Gault Street Detention
Basin is worked on.
• July - For the first few days the lake was crystal
clear and beautiful with a secchi reading of 16 feet. By July 11 the
Secchi reading had dropped to 6 feet as the detention basin was emptied
into the lake. On July 15th a thick layer of sediment from this influx
covered every square inch of the lake bottom as noted by snorkelers.
• July 25 - Great or Snowy Egret pair on lake.
Beautiful to watch.
• July 27 - Fifteen hardworking volunteers picked up
garbage in and around Lake Hallett. Thank You Volunteers! Also thanks
to the Public Works department for promptly disposing of the garbage.
• July 27 - Lake Hallett Association held its annual
summer meeting. Discussed how to go about getting Gustavus more
involved. They hold canoe classes on the lake and we have tried to get
them interested in studying the water quality. Jeff Miller's High
School Class uses the lake as an educational tool. Talked about putting
a garbage can up for those who find it too difficult to take their
garbage with them. We are looking for a group who would be interested
in painting street storm sewers to inform people where they lead to and
not to dump things down them. The great majority of St. Peter's storm
sewers either go directly to the Minnesota River or to Lake Hallett.
• August - The Lake Hallett Association put up a booth
at the Nicollet County Fair for the first time. We worked hard
designing and making stickers and magnets to give away. We had a lot of
information and there was a lot of interest. City Council Members Joel
Brinker and Ken Douglas both noticed the booth but unfortunately didn't
stop. We made about $75 in new memberships and other donations. we were
able to cover our costs and then some! Thank you to all our wonderful
• September - We again had a booth at the Rock Bend
Folk Festival. We collected several more members and made more
contacts. The Mayor Jerry Hawbacher even stopped by to see the exhibit.
He wasn't very happy about it but did discuss it a little bit. Kudos to
Jerry for checking us out! We can't give enough thanks to the
volunteers of the Lake Hallett Association for all they do!!!!!
• Mid-September - A rare Blandings Turtle was found on
Lake Hallett. This was reported to Department of Natural Resources and
an officer measured, weighed and tagged him by marking his shell. This
was quite an exciting discovery as a Blandings Turtle has not been
reported in this area in over 50 years!!! Get more information on www.lakehallett.com.
• November - Repairs on the Gault Street Detention
Basin are looking good! Rip-Rap and grass seed should stop the erosion
going into Lake Hallett. Unfortunately as it was allowed to erode
freely for 2 years it is much shallower than when it was originally dug
which greatly reduces its effectiveness. We are still hoping the bottom
storm sewer can be permanently closed and storm water allowed into the
lake only in cases of overflow.
• March 18 - Bill
Thompson of the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency and Gina Quiram of the St. Peter High School Ecology
Club present the results of their testing of Lake Hallett Summer 2001.
The information in the City Council packets was not accurate and the
meeting place was changed at the last minute. The presentation was
excellent but unfortunately the City Council was not very receptive to
the information presented. It was clearly shown by both presenters the
detrimental effect of the storm water on Lake Hallett. Gina made a map
of the algae congregating around the storm sewer. Bill showed the high
levels of phosphorous in the lake which will continue to contribute to
the demise of Lake Hallett's water quality. Both strongly recommended
diversion of the storm water away from Lake Hallett if the City Council
wants to protect the water quality of Lake Hallett.
• March 29 - Storm sewer is closed for summer mode
without any prompting.
• April - Gustavus starts to use Lake Hallett for
• May - City puts up "NO SWIMMING" signs.
- Gustavus Geography Department collects data for
Bathometric map of Lake Hallett.
- Jackie Strey of the St. Peter High School Ecology
Club continues testing.
• June 4 - The City of St. Peter opens the storm sewer
as heavy rains fall. The clarity of the water drops from 18 feet to 2
feet in 2 days. It takes almost 2 weeks for for the clarity to return
to 15 feet because of sediment.
• June 10 - Lake Hallett Association presents plans
for a Lake Hallett Clean up Project to the City Council. We requested a
portion of the federal money the City of St. Peter received after the
1998 tornado specifically to clean the tornado debris out of Lake
Hallett to pay for scuba gear.
• June - An article in the St. Peter Herald reports
the St. Peter City Council voted to grant the LHA $500 of Federal
tornado cleanup money to help pay a portion of SCUBA gear costs for the
planned cleanup dive. LJP Enterprises again generously donates a large
portion of the cost of a dumpster and debris disposal.
- PHASE I: Removal and disposal of tires.
- PHASE II: Community Lakeshore Cleanup.
- PHASE III: Volunteer scuba divers to clean tornado
debris out of Lake Hallett. Planned dive August 3, 2002.
• June 29 - Community Lakeshore Cleanup: over a ton of
tornado and other debris as well as 17 tires are removed by 20
hardworking volunteers. LJP donated a dumpster, Culligan donated
drinking water, Hermies and Whiskey river donated beverages. Sarah
Colbert of KEYC channel 12 did a great story on the event.
• July 17 - The Lake Hallett Association is working
with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to remove a barrel
with unknown contents from the lake. David Morrison of the MPCA has
been trying to work with the city but the response has been that since
the City had given The Lake Hallett Association (LHA) some funds for
the cleanup that the LHA was responsible.
• July 25 - The City of St. Peter is told by the MPCA
that they have to take responsibility for the barrel found in Lake
Hallett and cannot expect the Lake Hallett to provide the resources and
funding to deal with possible toxic waste. A city crew is sent out to
locate the barrel.
• July 29 - We are informed that the City of St. Peter
had paid the Nicollet County Sheriff's department to map the tornado
debris in Lake Hallett in 1998. Attempts to get a copy of the map from
City Hall to aid our cleanup dive are unsuccessful as no one seemed to
know where the map was.
• August 3 - Planned dive with 8 volunteer scuba
divers to remove tornado debris. Almost 30 volunteers show up to help
with the cleanup. Over 1.5 tons of debris is removed from the lake.
Among the debris were several pieces of siding, shingles, parts of
houses (boards, roof pieces, etc) 2 "no swimming" signs, many large
metal pieces, 7 additional tires and an empty barrel. KARE 11 from the
cities does coverage of the cleanup. Another barrel with unknown
contents is discovered.
• August 20 - The Lake Hallett Association receives a
copy of the mapped tornado debris, most of which has been removed.
• Summer - We estimate we have taken over 3 tons of
tornado debris out of Lake Hallett in this 3 phase cleanup effort and
covered about half of the lake bottom. We had over 50 hardworking
volunteers and wonderful community support. Thank you to everyone!!!!!
• September 18 - Lew Giesking calls to give the Lake
Hallett Association 24 hours notice that the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency Hazardous Waste Unit, the St. Peter Fire Department, the
Nicollet County Sheriff's Department and the City of St. Peter would be
removing the barrels from Lake Hallett the following morning.
Fortunately Trudi Olmanson was available to be there on such short
notice as those involved in the cleanup were the only ones who knew the
location of the recently found barrel. It was also very short notice
for the media but KARE 11, KEYC Channel 12, the Mankato Free Press and
the St. Peter Herald.
• September 19 - Five barrels were successfully
removed and fortunately none of them held any hazardous materials. We
are concerned there may be another barrel but were unable to find it.
Thank you to the Sheriff's Department, MPCA, Fire Dept and City for
their cooperation on this endeavor!
• December 2 - The storm sewer is opened draining the
severely eroded Gault Street Detention Basin into Lake Hallett.
• January - St. Peter
City Administrator Todd Prafke
,upon being approached. states he has set up a public meeting with the
DNR and MPCA 18 months after original request by the Lake Hallett
• January - Lou Flynn, from the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency (MPCA), who is working with the city on the storm
detention basin preceding Lake Hallett states he definitely wants to
protect the water quality in Lake Hallett and will recommend diversion
of the storm water.
• February - Victoria Poage - Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) Regional Environmental Assessment Ecologist - checks
into issue from a DNR standpoint. The city now has their permits so not
much can be done. Stated the MPCA told her if the lake starts to show
problems the city will be forced to divert the storm water.
• February - Public Meeting is held sponsored by the
St. Peter City Council with representatives from the DNR (Hugh Valiant)
and MPCA (Bill Thompson). 2 of 7 City Council members stay for the
entire meeting: Ken Douglas and Mary Gover. John Kvamme stays for part
of the meeting and the Mayor, Jerry Hawbaker, sticks his head in the
doorway and leaves. The city administrator , Todd Prafke, who has been
the liaison between the City Council and the DNR and MPCA also fails to
Leif Olmanson, U of M Water Resource Center
Scientist, and Bob Lambert, Head of Parks and Rec for Eden Prairie also
attend. Over 100 concerned citizens turnout to see the city's plans to
make "a fishing area, storm water detention basin and recreational area
compatible". Pete Moulton, City of St. Peter Public works department
representative, describes the city's plan as enlargening the existing
basin, using it to retain storm water all summer and then going into
"Winter Mode" when a pipe at the bottom is opened and all the storm
water is emptied into the lake to prevent damage to the pipes. When all
the ice on the lake is melted the bottom pipe would again be closed for
• May 23 - City sets up pump to lower lake level. The
DNR is informed as this requires a permit that the city has failed to
The Public works reps and Bolton and Menk Reps all insist they are
using "best management practices of the MPCA" when asked about the
effects on the water quality of the lake. A Bolton and Menk rep
estimates diverting the treated storm water to the river would cost a
one time fee of $300 thousand. This has not actually been looked into
by the city of St. Peter. No mention is made of nor are any plans shown
for a city park.
Mary Gover, City Council, when shown a picture of an algae bloom that
occurred last summer asked how many scuba divers there had been in the
lake because she believed cause that by stirring up the bottom. Bill
Thompson, MPCA, disagreed. Bob Lambert, who is trying to clean up lakes
in Eden Prairie that have been used as storm detention basins estimates
the cost to be $1 million per lake plus $40 thousand a year
maintenance. Open house format made it very difficult to ask questions
and receive answers.
• June 11 - Petroleum spill reported to the Minnesota
Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the City of St. Peter. A city
official acknowledges that there is petroleum spilling from the Waste
Water Treatment Plant Construction Site through the storm sewer into
Lake Hallett and that action is being taken to contain and clean up the
spill. The MPCA does not visit the site.
• June 12 -The City of St. Peter reports to the MPCA
that the suspected petroleum spill was cottonwood seeds. No samples
were taken. The mechanism that closes the storm sewer that dumps into
Lake Hallett is repaired and the storm sewer is actually closed for the
1st time in probably decades.
• Summer - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
begins testing on Lake Hallett to determine the effects the storm water
is having on this Lake.
• Gina Quiram, a member of the St. Peter High School
Ecology Club, begins testing on Lake Hallett for her senior project.
• To comply with Minnesota State Law the city of St.
Peter Builds a holding pond to treat the storm water before it enters
• The testing done by the MPCA shows a large buildup
of Phosphorous in the lake sediment which indicates more severe
problems in the future.
• November 2001- Construction debris accumulating in
new detention basin from Wastewater Treatment Plant is cleaned out of
basin by request of MPCA. Erosion of basin continues.
• March - Mayor Jerry
Hawbaker states he doesn't
believe that storm water is hurting the lake. He had no recollection of
the petition signed by his constituents asking the city to develop a
city park and stop polluting the lake. Lew Giesking was asked how the
shore land ordinance was coming and stated he wasn't sure what that
was. Later he stated he was working on it He stated the city was
working closely with the MPCA to clean up a diesel spill that occurred
approximately 6 years ago that could be the source of contaminant in
the lake. He didn't know the name of the MPCA official however. Mr.
Prafke states he's still working on setting up the public meeting with
the DNR and the MPCA. The soil test results were again requested and he
denied any knowledge of them but stated he would check into it.
• April - Mankato Free Press interviews city about the
contaminants in the lake-9 months after they've been found the city
acknowledges them. Todd Prafke is quoted as saying the city is
committed to protecting the lake.
• April - Articles come out about government officials
illegally holding back public information. Two days later the Lake
Hallett Association finally receives a complete copy of the soil and
water tests requested 9 months ago.
• April - Lake Hallett listed as the cleanest lake in
the Western Corn Belt Plains Ecoregion on the DNR website.
• Summer - Lake Level monitoring begins for DNR.
• June - The final plans for the Waste Water Treatment
Plant clearly show the city has no plans to build a storm detention
basin for run-off from the plant. Both Pete Moulton and Lew Giesking
state this is not a requirement. The Lake Hallett Association
specifically requests and receives maps that show this omission. The
MPCA has clearly stated that construction of this storm detention basin
is a minimum requirement. The MPCA is informed.
• July - Lynn Kolze from the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency states three different officials from the agency have
talked to the city and they now understand they have to build the storm
• August - City cleans 3 decades of debris out of
holding pond. Clear cuts property for WWTP site and puts in a
• November - Lew Giesking states the plan is to expand
the existing basin and keep the 1970's innovations in place because it
is the wish of the city council to continue to use his lake for storm
water detention and keep the original system.
• Joel Brinker states that Todd Prafke informed him
that no storm water will enter the lake unless there was a flood but he
had no specifics on how often this might be. Insisted on calling Lake
Hallett a "pit".
• The lack of possession of a NPDES construction
permit is brought to the attention of the MPCA.
• December -MPCA sees to it that the City of St. Peter
applies for proper state permits.
• January - Lake Hallett
Association formed to protect
• March - Comment period begins for Environmental
Assessment Worksheet on Waste Water Treatment Plant Project submitted
by the City of St. Peter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The
MPCA was misinformed about the designation of Hallett's pond. The MPCA
was told that Hallett's pond was a storm-water pond and that it had
been and would be used for that purpose by the city. Hallett's pond is
in fact a DNR protected water and the MPCA was informed of this fact by
the Lake Hallett Association.
• July - A petition with over 500 signatures is
presented by the Lake Hallett Association to the city of St. Peter
requesting that the city make protection of the lake and development of
a city park a top priority. The petition asked that the lake be
protected by not introducing further storm-water to the lake and by
eventually removing Lake Hallett from the city's storm water system.
• July - Lake Hallett Association requests the City of
St. Peter cease clear cutting trees around the lake until a park plan
is designed. The City Council agrees. The Association also requests the
city adopt a shore land ordinance as required by Minnesota statute
• July - City of St. Peter tests the water and soil
around Lake Hallett-Press release states all is clean at Hallett's
Pond. Lake Hallett Association requests copies of these tests.
• August - After several more complaints clear cutting
of trees around Lake Hallett is stopped.
• August - MPCA declares no Environmental Impact
Statement is necessary for the WWTP project. The city stated they were
planning to construct a storm water pond to handle runoff leaving the
WWTP site. This was a minimum requirement set by the MPCA and the City
agreed to meet that requirement.
• August - The city insists that the DNR told them to
clear cut the trees around the lake while the Lake Hallett association
was told the opposite. Because of this and other discrepancies the Lake
Hallett association verbally requested of the city administrator that
he set up a public meeting with the DNR and the MPCA to clear up any
confusion. Lake Hallett association receives partial water test results.
• September - The Lake Hallett Association again
receives an incomplete copy of the water tests done on Lake Hallett. A
letter is sent to city administrator, Todd Prafke, again requesting
that a public meeting be set up with the DNR and MPCA and asking for
complete copies of the tests.
• October - Dan White of the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency expresses great concern over the high level of Diesel
Range Organics in the water test. The lake test result is 190 ppb. The
limit for sustaining aquatic life is 200ppb. The Lake Hallett
Association mailed letters to all the city council members informing
them of this problem. There was no response.
• October - The DNR and MPCA meet with the city of St.
Peter employees to discuss Lake Hallett. They are not shown the water
• January - The City of
St. Peter purchases property
for the Waste Water Treatment Plant West of the lake, some lots by
Public works and "buys" the lake for $410,000. Warranty deed dated
April 29, 1998.
• Summer - City dispatches police department to keep
everyone including private property owners off "their" pond. Secchi
disc readings begin for Citizens Lake Monitoring Program sponsored by
• December - City presented with Department of Natural
Resources designation of Hallett's Pond as a DNR protected water and
provided with Lake ID number.
• January - City moves to
designate Lake Hallett as a
storm detention basin.
• December - The City of St. Peter Planning and Zoning
commission discusses "How to Secure the Pond for a Storm Water
• City diverts storm
water from new Standard Lumber
Subdivision against all storm water rules making total acreage flowing
into lake increase from 100 acres to 390 acres.
• February - City Council authorizes a study of the
Hallett's Pond watershed. During the expansion of the Standard
subdivision it was suspected there is a developing problem with storm
drainage within the Hallett's pond watershed. It is found the best
design to maintain the water quality in the pond is a settling basin
3.9 acres in size. If the settling basin is not increased in size the
pond itself would continue to act as a treatment basin.
• The Federal Water
Pollution Control Act is renamed
The Clean Water Act and amended making discharging pollutants from a
point source to navigable waters illegal without a permit.
• Hallett's Pond
classified as lake #52-0001 by the
Department of Natural Resources.
• City of St. Peter diverts 100 acres of storm water
into Lake Hallett per agreement with Hallett's construction company.
This was common practice at that time which is one reason why
Minnesota's lakes are as polluted as they are.
• August- "Wall" between the lake and the secondary
• Hallett's gravel pit
fills with water from an
artisan spring. Legend has it this occurred within 24 hours.
• Lake Hallett becomes the City of St. Peter's public
swimming area complete with a diving board and rope swing.
• A young man from Lake Crystal drowns in the lake and
the city makes plans to build a swimming pool.