ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is proposing removing Lake George in St. Cloud from the impaired waters list.

Elevated phosphorus levels and low water clarity resulted in Lake George being placed on the list back in 2012.

The city then conducted an analysis of the 125-acre sub-watershed surrounding the lake. The analysis was completed in 2017 and action to correct the problem started in 2018.

A stormwater treatment pond just south of Lake George known as Little George was constructed in 1998 to capture sediment and pollutants before they reach the lake. Little George was dredged for the first time in 2018. More than 900 tons of sediment - about 50 semi-truck loads - were removed from the pond.

The lake also received four alum treatments in 2018 with more in 2019 and 2020.

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To address stormwater runoff before it enters Lake George, underground stormwater retention and filtration treatment facility was installed in 2020 under the parking lot off the northwest corner. The project was funded with nearly $700,000 from a Land and Legacy grant.

The state phosphorus standard for Lake George is 40 parts per billion. When the lake was added to the list in 2012 the levels were at 45 ppb. With all the work that has been done, the levels this year are holding at 18 ppb, and water clarity has increased from a depth of 5.8 feet to nearly 10 feet.

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