A Drain in the Lake?

Visitors to Devil’s Lake State Park have noticed that after years of flooding, the lake now often seems lower than “normal”. Some have also heard that at one time a pipe was put in the lake to control phosphorus & nitrates in the water. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty common for people to ask; “Is there a drain in the lake?”  Well, yes. Yes there is!

Back around 2002 a 5,500-foot-long pipeline was sunk to the bottom of Devil’s Lake to draw out pollution caused by years of sewage running into the water from cottages and resorts that used to cover the shoreline. What’s worse, in the 1970’s the park’s sewer main was broken and not repaired for nearly 10 years!*  When you consider that, a good clean out sounds like a great idea! By 2009 the local newspaper reported that over 6000 lbs of phosphorus had been removed from the lake.

These days the water quality is much, much better, however the pipe remains. The system is now used by the park to control the lake’s volume. So yes, if the lake is seeming a bit too low, it may not actually be the “dry weather” we’ve been having, it could just be that someone has decided to “open the drain”.

* http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/stories/2004/jun04/devlake.htm