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Plans to mitigate algae pondered

Staff writer

Marion County Commission heard plans Monday to alleviate the presence of blue-green algae at Marion County Lake.

There is a “finger” extending from one of the coves at the lake into a pasture, said Rickey Roberts, Kansas State University Research and Extension agent.

The cattle in that pasture use that as a source of water and place to stay cool. When the cattle wade into the water, they may stir up nutrients that contribute to the growth of blue-green algae, Roberts said. He emphasized that while the cattle may be a contributor, they are certainly not the sole problem.

Roberts proposed installing a solar-powered water pump to provide the cattle with water and building a fence that would keep them out of the lake. A temporary setup could be completed with a single day of work, he said. It is even possible that state funds could be used for the project if approved as a demonstration by Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Phil Barnes, a Kansas State University professor specializing in water quality, offered another possible solution for localized blue-green algae problems. The county could treat the water with copper sulfate, which would bind the nutrients the algae need to flourish. The chemical would temporarily drive fish to other areas of the lake.

Hot and dry weather have significantly contributed to the algae’s development this summer, Barnes said. A heavy rain with enough runoff would dramatically alleviate the situation. Even a strong wind could stir the lake enough to disperse the algae.

Jail bidding Sept. 8

Andy Pitts of Treanor Architects P.A. met with the commission about the design for the future county jail.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he had some issues about what he saw as “dead space” on the grounds of the building and the orientation of the building.

He said he would like to have the driveway to the employee parking lot on the south side of the building to alleviate ice and snow issues. It is planned to be on the north side of the building.

The commission instructed Pitts to prepare bid specifications with an alternate bid to make the jail portion of the building two stories tall to allow for easier expansion in the future.

The commission approved the following new hires and raises:

  • Michael D. Wheeler, new seasonal groundskeeper for Marion County Park and Lake — $8 per hour.
  • Brian Frese, deputy appraiser — 6-month raise from $2,897 to $2,964 per month.
  • Ashley Friesen, payroll/personnel clerk — 6-month raise from $2,572 to $2,669 per month.
  • Sandra Svboda, motor vehicle supervisor — 20-year raise from $2,829 to $2,934 per month.

In other business:

  • The commission approved purchasing urgently needed equipment for four primary rescue units. They also instructed rescue unit leaders to seek bids to replace hydraulic cutters and spreaders on two of the units with electric-powered equipment.
  • Roberts presented Marion County Extension District’s 2012 budget request for $132,000. That is an increase of 3.94 percent from 2011. The extension district is jointly funded by the county and state.
  • Marion County Soil Conservation District requested $28,790 for the 2012 budget. That is the same as 2010 and 2011.
  • Almost 300 tons of debris has been taken to Butler County Landfill from demolition of buildings on the site of the future county jail.
  • After the meeting, Holub said the window for cardboard recycling at the transfer station is Marion is open each day during regular business hours.

The next scheduled meeting will be Monday.

Last modified July 14, 2011

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