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Worthington Works To Improve Water Quality

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Many area lakes start out the summer with relatively clear water, but by the end of summer they are full of green algae, which can hamper recreation and fishing.


Mitchell, Madison and Worthington, Minnesota are three places that often see massive blooms of algae.

Now, officials in Worthington have tried something new to improve the water quality.


"We're doing everything we can to keep nutrients and soil out of the lake," said Livdahl.


In the summer months leading into fall, the slimy green stuff, also known as algae can be seen lingering in Worthington's 795 acre lake, Lake Okabena.


Dan Livdahl, the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District Administrator, said a storm water pond is being used to test ways to improve water quality in Worthington.


The city is testing four floating islands that are 8-inches-thick and 50-square-feet, made up of recycled pop bottles and milk cartons.


"To remove nutrients from the storm water that flows into the storm water ponds," said Livdahl.


The less nutrients in the water, means less phosphorus, ultimately resulting in less icky green stuff.


Next week nearly 100 plants will be installed into each of these islands, with the intent for the roots to soak up the nutrients from the water.


"Native plants, plants that like both wet and dry conditions," said Livdahl.


These include a large variety of grasses and flowers, because officials don't know which plants will successfully grow on the islands.


Once progress begins to show, city officials will look into moving out of the storm bond and into the lakes of Worthington.


"We think we'll expand to some bays in Lake Okabena also to use nutrients before the phosphorus gets a chance to stimulate algae blooms," said Livdahl.


The floating islands cost around $1,200.00 a piece, which doesn't include the cost of seeds for planting.


KDLT News will keep you up to date on the project and see how it's working later this summer.

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