Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twenty-sixth Year
July 4th Edition 2009
Greetings Diamond Lake Property Owners!

Septic Systems - One Person's Opinion
by Richard Phillips

The Wastewater Committee was formed with all volunteers who thought they could use their various backgrounds to assist in trying to get some much needed answers to a whole lot of questions that seemed to be plaguing everybody.  One of the things that we have strived for (and I think we accomplished) was to stay neutral in our dealings with the whole septic system process.  All of us now know a whole lot about septic systems (more then we ever wanted to know) and continue to learn more every day.  We have all read dozens and dozens of articles, codes, reports, opinions, engineering reports, etc. and talked with dozens of very learned people.

I believe we also have all approached this whole process with trying to be practical with some common sense at the same time.  Some times this has been the hardest part.

I think we all realize by now that with the City of Kandiyohi soon to be pumping all it's wastes to GLSSD and with the line going past the County Park #3, the County Commissioners will probably vote to install the loop system around the lake.   In the grand scheme of things, this is probably a good thing even though I voted against it.  Why is it a good thing?  First, it will finally put this all behind us so that we have time to enjoy the lake, but more importantly, it will solve the problems that two-thirds of the lake residents have due to the size of their lots, high groundwater so they can not get enough vertical separation, and well locations, which limit their options to basically holding tanks.  And for heavy use seasonal residents, this is really not a good option.

I also think that the County is not looking at enough options.  They have constantly pushed for the installation of "Grinder Pumps".  I personally think that this is not the best option for a lot of the people since the majority of the objections to the loop system is the costs associated with it.  The engineering estimate by Bolton and Menk in 2006 was $10,900 per household for the construction and installation of grinders and $7,800 assessment for the low pressure trunk lines.  Now those costs have gone down (since this initial Feasibility Report) particularly in the trunk line costs but still (in my opinion) are way to high.

If you can combine 2-3 houses (or more) on one grinder station, then the cost is greatly reduced.  But if you happen to be where there isn't someone close by to share costs with, then one alternative would be to install a two-compartment tank and just pump off the waste water.  This system can be installed for half the cost but does necessitate having to pump out the solids from the holding tank every 2 years.  Cost of pumping is around $125 but you can pump a great many times with the $4-5,000 savings.  Another advantage of this system is the mechanical parts.  We all have to remember that with any system that has mechanical parts, things break or wear out and that this could happen in six months or 15 years.  The cost of a new pump is $300-400 but the cost of a new grinder is around $1000 or more.

So, the whole purpose of this article is to let everybody know that we still have some options available to us.  While it appears that ISTS (Individual Septic Treatment Systems) is off the table except for those that currently meet the standards, continue to ask questions of the County Officials, GLSSD, and the people that come out to design your systems.  You DO still have some options, so don't be afraid to ask for those options.

(editor’s note: what better time to be thinking about winter than July 4th?)

    Brandon Kragenbring of Grove City was out ice fishing on Diamond Lake last Dec. 21. He decided to cross the lake from east to west to visit his uncle. He had taken a similar route from west to east earlier in the evening, but this time he went a little to the south, following a track made by another vehicle. But, as the philosopher David Hume maintained (and investment advertisers are required to note), past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

    On his way back all of a sudden the front end of his truck began to sink into the lake. He hoped it would stabilize by catching on the ice but it continued going down. Brandon jumped out a truck window and watched the truck slowly drown. It happened to be one of the coldest nights of the season, accompanied by a very heavy wind, with wind chill hitting maybe 30 below. He wasn’t dressed very warm, didn’t even have gloves on, but managed to make it to the Meyerson house, about a half mile to the south, where he was taken in and then phoned his dad who got Brandon’s uncle to pick him up.

    Luckily, Brandon has a lot of friends. With Reid Stranberg in charge, assisted by Dennis Evenson, Greg Whitcomb and some 30 others on New Year’s Day the gang found the truck with an aqua view camera, managed to set poles thru the truck windows and, by means of a contraption, lifted the truck right out of the lake in 3 hours time.  After the vehicle dried out and Brandon changed the oil, gas and filters, the truck started right up. You can catch all the contraption action on You Tube, complete with music. Just search for “Diamond Lake Truck Removal.” Remember, when driving on the ice keep your window open just in case you are not as fast as Brandon Kragenbring.


It was brought to our attention that the total of dues payers in 2008 was 235 out of 350, not 250 (actually, it should be 365). Instead of demolishing 100 homes to bring the claim into line, we decided to admit the mistake. Can you find any mistakes in the current issue? (hint: there are none).

Despite our best efforts the Memorial Day issue of the News was delayed. We had it at the Post Office on the Thursday before the holiday and hoped it would be in mailboxes by the following Saturday. The USPS has a new distribution system by which all the mail runs to Minneapolis and then back out here. Since we send it out bulk mail it has a lower priority than first class. If we assemble the issue too early we run the risk of growing increasingly out of date. Alas, we can’t always have our cake and eat it too.  

The July 4 Boat Parade will begin at 4 PM in front of Community Park. Please wait for the Captain Stan Lange to lead you forward. He’s the one with the epaulettes and double brimmed commodore’s hat. Or maybe the guy in shorts with a baseball cap. You’ll know him when you see him.  

Fireworks are great on July 3 and 4. They start to get real old with the passing of time. If you have children or grandchildren who must set them off after the holiday passes please have them do it in the confines of their own room and thereby limit the noise for the rest of us. Of course, the risk will be somewhat elevated.


    The annual meeting of the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association was held at the Community Park shelter on Saturday, June 20, 2009. About 75 people were in attendance, more than usual, probably due to interest in the proposed sewer project.

    Secretary Becky Ricklefs read the treasurer’s report in the absence of Jon Hanson -- $46,182 total cash minus a few small bills that were approved. After introducing the Board Members, President Harlan Meints reviewed ongoing projects: fish trap at the east side inlet (held up due to uncertainties over State share-funding), weed cutting (Jerry Ebersviller graciously allowed himself to be pressed into service by the outgoing June & Bill Schultz), review of the septic study process (the waste water committee was separate from the Association Board), installation of the dry hydrant on the east side (but lake access lighting is a hopeless cause due to vandals who shoot them out), cost-share with the County on providing dumpsters for ice fisherfolk, and the status of the TMDL study. The latter proved a complicated matter, with County Commissioner Harlan Madsen explaining the very long process, complicated by State funding cuts, that lies before us. We will probably cover that story in greater detail at a later time.

    Board Members Jerry Ebersviller and Lisa Piotrowski, appointed earlier by the Board to fill the unexpired terms of Bob Carruthers and Vicky Behm, were unanimously elected by the membership. With the terms of Wencel Kojetin and Jim Teschendorf expiring,  Jim agreed to run again, but Wencel declined. Additional nominations from the floor included Bruce Monson and Elaine Sietsema. Jim and Elaine won the balloted election to fill the 2 seats.

    A very long and sometimes pointed question and answer period followed, mostly directed towards the sewer system issue. Harlan Meints outlined the process and meeting dates going forward. Harlan Madsen urged those present to watch their mailboxes carefully as notices will be sent to all property owners regarding public meetings.

    It is hoped that the minutes of the meeting will be posted on the website in the near future.  

                                                                                                                                     Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District:
Working to Improve Diamond Lake

The Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District (MFCRWD) is a special purpose unit of government that was formed on April 27, 2005.  There are about 48 different watershed districts throughout the state of Minnesota, all of which are run by a board of managers.  The MFCRWD has a board of five managers which represent the different counties that the District lies in.  Funding for the MFCRWD comes from an annual tax levy, in addition to different grant funding that the MFCRWD manages to procure from a variety of different sources.

The MFCRWD was formed with the purposes of preserving and protecting water quality in the entire Middle Fork Crow River Watershed.  We work with different individuals, as well as city, township, county, state and federal governments to implement projects that help to accomplish this goal.

The MFCRWD has been working on Diamond Lake on several different projects.  Diamond Lake is considered “impaired” by the State of Minnesota for excess nutrients, meaning that the lake no longer meets its designated use of “aquatic recreation” as a result of nutrient loading.  Because of this status the MFCRWD is in the process of completing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, which aims to identify the sources of the excess nutrient impairment, and potential ways to address these issues to help improve water quality on the lake.  In addition, we are working with area residents to implement different projects designed to improve water quality.  These projects vary from feedlot upgrades, stream stabilization, raingardens, shoreland restoration, and others.

The MFCRWD currently has funding to cost-share up to 75% of implementation costs of certain allowable projects.  If you would like to learn more about how you might implement a project yourself and help improve Diamond Lake, please contact our office, or refer to the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District’s website at www.mfcrow.org.

The golden goose has been killed. With the retirement of a certain raft on the south side of the lake. Over the past few years fishermen enjoyed dropping their lines under the raft for pan fish. Unfortunately some fell into the habit of parking by the raft all weekend long, making use of the dock and raft undesirable for the property owners who, by law, could not chase these “guests” away, but felt awkward trying to enjoy the lake from their property themselves. Are rafts now an endangered species due to the rudeness of some?

We’ve didn’t get any takers on our invitation to guess the “ice off” date, despite the promise of a cockleburr bouquet for the winner. Anyone know the ice off date (definition must accompany the date). If so please notify the editor at robm@frontiernet.net. We will publish the worst definition in this column.

One lakeshore dweller forwarded an email claiming that Listerine sprayed on the desk keeps mosquitoes away (but don’t spray on doors!) I’m not sure if this suggestion was started by the Listerine company, so buyer beware.

Remember: Association minutes and lots more can be viewed at our website, thanks to Judy Christensen, www.diamondlakemn.com.

by Daryl Winkelman (Firefighter, EMT, insurance agent, Diamond Lake Resident)

The fire department does charge for service calls to your property.  The charge is based on the number of trucks, the number of firefighters, and the number of hours.  The first response truck is $150.00 for the first hour, each additional hour and each additional truck is billed at $50.00 per hour, and there is a $12.50 charge per hour for each firefighter.  In Harrison Township (Diamond Lake) the bill for fire calls is sent to the township which in turn will bill to the property owner.

Most property insurance policies will have coverage up to $500 as a basic coverage which normally would be paid without your deductible applying.  Most insurers offer increases to the $500 base in $100 increments at a modest annual fee of around $2 per $100 of added coverage.  I recommend to my customers that they carry $1,000 to $1,500 for fire department service charges.

The Atwater Fire Department has mutual aid agreements in place with surrounding communities for them to assist at major incidents.  This mutual aid assistance is NOT billed to the property owner.  

This information is being provided from having been a member of the Atwater Fire Department and Ambulance Service for 23 years as well as being an American Family Insurance Agent for 27 years.  I do have to stress to you that it is important for you to check with your company and/or agent to get the specific information on the coverage you are being provided.  

by Judy Christensen

    Did you know the Diamond Lake Association has a website?  On our website we have information regarding lake association programs, events, board of director meeting minutes and newsletters.  We also have links to other relevant lake information such as sewer information, DNR information, etc.

    You can either periodically check the website for updates, or if you want to be added to our mailing list we will mail you information when the website is updated.  Your email address is secure and will not be given out to anyone else.  We also limit our mailings so you don't get 'junk' mail from us, only when important information is posted/updated do we let you know.

    If you want to be added to our mailing list, or if you have changed your email address of late, please go to the website www.diamondlakemn.com and click on the "Contact Us" link on the left hand side of the page.  Simply follow the instructions and we will receive your new/updated email address.

    We aim to kept you updated on key lake information!