Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twenty-first Annual
May 2004
Editor's Note

This issue of the News inaugurates our 21st year! And we have a lot to say.  Several major developments are in play.  Our lead article mentions a watershed district proposal that needs to be closely watched.  Another article describes the ethanol plant being planned for an August, 2004 ground breaking.  The article was written by the ethanol company itself.  We welcome additional articles on this and any other matter.  However, we expect the information to be accurate and reserve the right to publish or not.  Finally, Island Pines golf Course is under new ownership and hopes to improve the condition of the course  see the enclosed insert.

Speaking of which, we have enclosed a number of other inserts with this issue.  They are printed at the inserter's expense  we incur the additional collating and mailing costs.  We do this on the assumption that readers like being informed about local services, and because we want to encourage local activities, organizations and businesses as a part of community building (and back scratching).  However, once again we reserve the right to publish or not, and will review all materials prior to publication.

Watershed District Proposed

Bill Latham, member of the Committee to Establish Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, spoke to our Board of Directors on May 6 to ask for support in creating a watershed district for the area.  Latham and a number of other Green Lake residents are very concerned about what they feel is the deteriorating water quality on Green Lake.  Chara algae and weeds seem to be proliferating.  Highway construction has resulted in increased runoff, as has new curb and getters.  Appeals to the DNR for assistance have not met with any success.

A study similar to our Phase I Diagnostic Feasibility Study (1995) was done by Steve McComas for the Green Lake group in 2002.  McComas made a number of recommendations which have not been implemented for want of funds  readers of this News may recall that the recommendations coming out of our study were and are being implemented because of our success in getting grants, which are not as easy to obtain in these days of governmental budgetary retrenchment.

Because of their concerns and frustrations, Green Lake residents formed the aforementioned Committee to look into the prospect of forming a watershed district.  Such a district would be able to raise money through a real estate tax surcharge, raise grant monies not otherwise available, establish rules to regulate matters presently being ignored, and perhaps apply pressure to unresponsive state agencies.  Latham is currently circulating a petition which will be presented to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners to establish a watershed district.

The Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association (our official name) heard Latham out, but decided to take no action on his request that we support his group's petition in favor of the watershed district.  While some Board members sympathized with Latham's frustration in dealing with State agencies, several questioned the benefit for Diamond Lake.  It was noted that our Association has successfully attracted and implemented lake improvement projects, that we were in good financial shape for non-grant projects, that the surcharge was not welcome (approximately $24 per $100,000 of assessed value), and that we could be easily ignored by the watershed board in factor of other larger lake lobby groups.

Most important of all, Board members wanted time to think it over.  They are especially interested in hearing from other Diamond Lake residents on the matter.  Readers are encouraged to contact Board members (listed elsewhere in this News and on the web site).  Supporters can contact Bill Latham at Box 1, Spicer Mn 56288.  Further information may be found on the internet at www.bwsr.gov, www.fortylakes.org, and www.mnwatershed.org.  Concerned readers ought to know that they will not have a direct say in the matter; the decision is in the hands of the Kandiyohi (and Meeker, Stearns and Pope) County Commissioners.  While the Diamond Lake News and the Diamond Lake website will try to keep you informed, the former is not published in a timely manner and the latter may not be able to keep abreast of developments.  Other local news sources (West Central Tribune) ought to be consulted.

Bushmills Ethanol  A Good Neighbor for the Atwater Community  by Bushmills Ethanol, Inc.

Bushmills ethanol is proposing development and construction of a locally-owned 40M Gallon/yr. ethanol facility west of Atwater, MN that will be built by Fagen, Inc.  The tentative ground breaking is set for August of 2004.  Advantages of this project include:
*  Stimulates the rural economy (32  38 quality jobs / 1.7MM payroll)
*  Improved air quality (reduces tailpipe emissions)
*  Clean power (increases octane rating in fuel)
*  Reduces reliance on imported oil (made from renewable sources produced in US)
*  Net energy winner (produces 35% more energy than it takes to grow and process corn)
*  Environmental benefits (in addition to clean air benefits, ethanol does not pollute ground water).

The Bushmills Ethanol Board of Directors is working closely with the Fagen, Inc. / ICM Design Team to install the best water and air emission controls available.  The plant will recycle all contact "process" water within the ethanol production processes.  Only the water rejected from reverse osmosis purification, softener regeneration, and water re-circulated in the cooling tower will be discharged off site.  The water to be discharged is classified as "non-contact" water, meaning it does not come into contact with fermentation and distillation processes.  Bushmills Ethanol is currently negotiating with the Atwater Golf Course to direct some of the "non-contact" water for irrigation purposes, thus displacing water currently being pumped from the aquifer.  The discharged "non-contact" water from Bushmills Ethanol will contain the constituents of the local ground water only at a higher concentration due primarily to recirculation and evaporation in the cooling tower.  All discharged water will meet MPCA guidelines and permit limitations.  Rainwater runoff is expected to follow the same path.  Also, at the Bushmills facility, it is planned that phosphate-free chemistry will be used, so that additional phosphates will not be added to the Middle Fork of the Crow River.  No local lakes, including Diamond Lake, will receive discharge water from the Bushmills Ethanol plant.

The Bushmills ethanol Plant will also employ air emission control equipment that has been classified by many states and the EPA as the best available control technology.  The potential for odor from the grain drying exhaust will be eliminated by a recuperative thermal oxidizer that will operate at approximately 1550 degrees Fahrenheit in order to destroy nearly all the volatile organic compounds.  In addition, ICM has designed the Bushmills fermentation process so that the plant physically cannot operate unless the Thermal Oxidizer is providing the heat for all the plant's steam needs.  The fermentation compounds will be controlled by a high efficiency packed tower scrubber intended to remove 98% of the volatile compounds from the fermenter, resulting in an exhaust stream of 99.9% carbon dioxide.  Offsite nuisance odor is not anticipated due to the use of ICM's proven emission control technology.

Andy Quinn, Bushmills Ethanol Board President stated, "We would like to thank the Atwater community for the support we have received for this project from the very beginning.  When the Bushmills Board made the decision to build this plant here, we also made the commitment to be a good neighbor for the Atwater community."

Busmills ethanol office phone is 320-974-8050 or 1-888-287-4645 (toll free).

Missile Lane Yes  Notes

The annual meeting will be held on August 21st at 9:30 am at the Kandiyohi County Park #3 (this is a correction to the printed newsletter).

Water testing newsletter correction

On June 3rd from 11-3 nitrate testing will be available  but you only need to test every 3 years if you passed recently.

In August we will perform colliform testing  note  you only need to test every 3 years if you passed recently.  Last year we ran 57 tests, with 7 positives.  Of those 7, only 1 failed the second time.  Those interested must contact Kathy Flaata 974-8535 ahead of time so that she may arrange the kits as well as the pick up and drop off.

Two loon families have located on Diamond Lake.  PLEASE LEAVE THEM ALONE!  Don't even try to get close to them or you may be the cause of their demise.  Enjoy them via your ears.

The new Association bylaws will be presented at our next Board meeting scheduled for 7pm on Thursday, June 3 at the Covell Building.  All are invited to attend.  Final adoption will be at the annual meeting.

The Association has approved a letter to the highway department supporting the widening of County Road #4 (south side of the lake) during resurfacing to include room for a walking path.  We did not think there was any chance for a bike path given the expense.

Our phosphorous-free fertilizer giveaway will be in the fall, as this is the best time to fertilize lawns.  We will have more information in a later issue of the News.

What do you think of spending our hard accumulated Association funds to purchase tornado warning sirens at the east and west ends of Diamond Lake?  It could virtually wipe us out financially.  Let us know at the web site.

New Community Park Store and Office

As you have probably noticed, "we" have a new store and office at County Park #3 (sounds like an old Soviet named it) located on the west side of Diamond Lake.  Manager Todd Anderson runs the park as well as the store.  The new facility has enabled him to expand his line of food items.  In addition to the old standbys of milk, eggs, pop, chips, ice and ice cream, he now carries a line of meats from Wick's of Kandiyohi: jerky, brats, hotdogs, breakfast and wild rice sausage, and hamburgers.  If you have unexpected company, you can run over to the store for additional provisions.  He also has bait and tackle, and gas for boats (but not at the store  for that you need to go to the North Breeze Resort at the south eastern side of the lake).  Sorry, he does not carry videos but he does welcome suggestions for new items to carry (974-8520).

There is one thing Todd does not welcome, and that is garbage.  Some people think they can toss their waste in his dumpster.  They can't!  In face, IT IS ILLEGAL TO DUMP YOUR GARBAGE AT THE COUNTY PARK.  One repeat offender was reported to Kandiyohi County authorities and was fined $1,500!  If you are a weekend resident at a loss of what to do with your waste, call West Central Sanitation at 235-7630.  They will provide special bags on a seasonal, partial or on-call basis.  And by the way, the prohibition of garbage dumping extends to limbs and weeds, which some rude residents have dumped at the Park.

Of course, Todd's main reason for being is the campgrounds.  If you have guests or friends interested, they had better call at least a week in advance for a week's stay (974-8520).  Fourth of July actually filled up by mid-February.  Todd welcomes postings on his bulletin board for local activities, for profit or non  campground guests look for a variety of local things to do, especially when the weather is bad.  Maybe there's an opportunity here for some enterprising group or business.

Weed Cutting Permit by Joan Schultz

The DLARA receive a permit from the DNR to cut curly leaf pondweed in a restricted area of the northeast bay of Diamond Lake.  This permit expires on June 15, 2004.  THERE IS TO BE NO CUTTING BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AFTER THIS DATE.  THE WEED CUTTERS MAY NOT BE LOANED TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS UNLESS A PERMIT IS ONTAQINED FOR THAT SPECIFIC AREA.  Property owners who feel there is a curly leaf problem in other areas of Diamond Lake may apply for a permit for their area by applying to the DNR office in Spicer.  There is a fee to obtain a permit (last year it was $250; this year it is $750).  We need volunteers on the north and west sides of the bay to help cut by their property.  Depending on the rate of growth, we plan to cut on Saturday morning, May 22 and June 5, 2004.  Please call Kathy Flaata (974-8535) to offer assistance.

What Have We Done For You Lately?

A careful reading of this News will reveal that we have a very effective Association.  Ten years ago we embarked on an effort to improve conditions in the watershed.  While we can debate whether or not we have made any progress, we cannot debate the fact that we have been hugely successful in obtaining grant money to address problem areas.  In fact, a big reason why residents of another lake are trying to form a watershed district (which will include us, whether we like it or not) is that they have been unable to acquire the funding that we have.

But it takes money to get money, and to continue our efforts when the well of grants runs dry at the end of this year, WE NEED YOUR HELP!  We are an entirely volunteer organization.  We also happen to be the only organized group devoted exclusively to the betterment of Diamond Lake.  Please do your part by contributing $25.00 for your annual dues.  We will publish a list of paid up members by the end of the year.  Those (and only those) who contribute are eligible to receive a copy of our 2003 Lake Directory listing all residents alphabetically and geographically  just let us know if you need one (everyone should have received a copy last year, and we only have a few left).  You may also be eligible for other occasional benefits, such as the lakescape video or the underwater video of Diamond Lake produced by limnologist Steve McComas.  To pay your dues send a check for $25.00  made out to Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association (or DLARA).  Thank you for your help!  Mail to:
Jon Hanson, Treasurer
Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association
15375 NE 75th Ave
Atwater, MN 56209