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Lake Hallett
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

More Articles...





 •  History For 2010 (word). Jan-Aug 2010.
 •  History For 2010 (pdf). Jan-Aug 2010.



 •  History For 2009 (word). Jan-Aug 2009.
 •  History For 2009 (pdf). Jan-Dec 2009.



 •  History For 2008. Jan-Dec 2008, with Oct 2007 update.



 •  History For 2007.

 •  February 2007 - Winterfest in Saint Peter

  • 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 Olympics.
 •  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 remedial measures.
  • 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 Waters.
 •  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.
  • 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 never tested.
  • 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.
 •  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.
  • Great turnout for the Lake Hallett Association annual cleanup!
  • 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.
 •  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.
24 May <2419.6 cfus
4 June 387 cfus
11 Jun <2419.6 cfus
(cfu = colony forming units)
The standard for E. coli is:
  • 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.
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.
  • 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.
 •  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 test.
  • 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 true.
  • 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 property.
  • Private property is vandalized. Lawn furniture is stolen and someone has defecated on the swimming raft. Police called again.
 •  August 2007 - Private raft again vandalized - rope to anchor is cut and police are called again.
  • 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.
 •  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
  • 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 Stuff.
  • 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 trashcan.
  • 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.
 •  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.
  • 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 place!
  • 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.
 •  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.

 •  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.



 •  February 2006 - The storm sewer remains closed.
  • 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 pollutants.
  • 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 alone.
  • 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.
 •  April 2006 - Buffleheads, mallards, cormorants, merganser and a single loon all stop on the lake.

 •  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 well received.

The Friends of Lake Hallett Ideas:
Emphasize Nature Area
  1. Native Vegetation - (better suited for the area, non invasive)
  2. Soft Surface Path - (Possibly woodchips, minimize runoff
  3. 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)
  4. Natural non-mowed buffer between lake and path (this will discourage problem geese)
  5. Handicapped accessible fishing pier
  6. Open Dusk to Dawn (no artificial lighting)
  7. Consider no restroom or off premise restroom to discourage vandals.
  8. Allow pets but aggressively enforce waste rules and provide garbage cans for waste disposal.
  9. Signage for littering fines
  10. 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 year.
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 attends.

Public Access to Lake Hallett opens with the opening of the WWTP.

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 new faces!
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.

  • The nets the City is using for the rip rap around the detention basin is trapping the wildlife. 8 birds and 1 turtle rescued so far.
  • 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.
 •  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!



 •  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 to blue.

 •  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 volunteers!

 •  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 canoe class.

 •  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.
  • 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 - 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.

 •  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 association.

 •  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 attend.
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 "Summer Mode".

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.
 •  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 acquire.

 •  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 Lake Hallett.

 •  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 detention basin.

 •  August - City cleans 3 decades of debris out of holding pond. Clear cuts property for WWTP site and puts in a transformer.

 •  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 Lake Hallett.

 •  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 103F.221.

 •  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 test results.



 •  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 MPCA.

 •  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 Detention Basin."



 •  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 pond collapses.



 •  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.


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