Neighbors say Interlachen Lake filling with sediment - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Neighbors say Interlachen Lake filling with sediment

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A backyard that borders on one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes should make summer living pretty easy, but a group of Rochester neighbors said for the past seven years, they've been afraid of losing the lake in their backyards, and the recent rain only makes it worse.

Homeowners on Interlachen Lake in Rochester said problems there are building up and eroding the quality of life on the shore.

"This is an example of the debris that comes in every time we get a two to three inch rain," said Skip Hein, the president of the Interlachen Homeowners Association as he surveyed a pile of debris on the dock in his backyard.

Interlachen Lake in Rochester was once a clean, clear, backyard getaway.

"Today I don't even allow my grandchildren or anybody to swim or fish in this lake," Hein said. 

Now, neighbors say not only is it a headache, but it's slowly disappearing.

"We now have lost between 35 and 100 percent of our lake depth depending on the location in the lake," Hein said.

Hein said with each heavy rain, like the ones earlier this week, sediment washes in slowly filling in the lake.

"We may look like Lake Shady one of these days," he said.

But the sand isn't all that washes in.

 "We have livestock manure," Hein said. "We have dead animals. We have carpeting. We have all sorts of things coming into the lake."

Hein said Interlachen is now one of the two most polluted lakes in the Rochester area, but what changed and how did it all start? Hein said for that answer we not only have to go back to a massive 2007 rainstorm but also to the headwaters of Interlachen.

"There was such a rush of water from that 13 inches of rain that it blew out the area below these culverts," Hein said standing at the culverts where water pours into Interlachen. Hein said that initial blow out was repaired, but the damage was done and continues.

So now Hein is asking the city, county, DNR and soil and water conservation to partner with the neighborhood association and fix the rest.

"You can't pollute people's property and decrease property values in this sort of thing and expect people to accept it," he said.

Hein presented to the Rochester City Council on Monday and the neighborhood association is still working to get a presentation before the Olmsted County Board. He said they want control structures at the inlet and output of the lake, and they want the lake dredged.

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