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Published October 07, 2009, 08:38 PM

State Health Department Exploring Sheyenne River Reclassification

The North Dakota State Health Department is considering changing the classification of part of the Sheyenne River. But this has been met with some controversy.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

The North Dakota State Health Department is considering changing the classification of part of the Sheyenne River.

But this has been met with some controversy.

After meetings in Bismarck and Valley City the department held its final meeting in Devils Lake today.

The State Health Department needs to get public input before it can make any changes.

People in Valley City gave their testimony yesterday...and people in Devils Lake got their chance today.

Applause filled the auditorium at Lake Region State College today as city and county leaders and concerned residents testified to back the State Health Department's proposed reclassification of part of the Sheyenne River.

Fred Bott: The City of Devils Lake fully supports efforts from the North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota State Water Commission to remove additional water from the lake

This rule would allow the maximum level of sulfates in part of the river to be changed from 450 milligrams per liter to 750 milligrams per liter. It would also allow more water to flow through the Devils Lake outlet.

Rick Lafleur: That's what comes in to Devils Lake during these events: 150 acre feet every day with nowhere for it to go

But this has been met with controversy. People in the Valley City area have been concerned about this bringing poor water quality to the Sheyenne River.

Lee Gessner: The people downstream need to understand that we know that the lake level will not be lowered to pre-flood levels

People in the Lake Region say it's necessary to remove water from the lake. Harold Bergquist of Lakota says that even through Stump Lake has some of the worst quality water in the basin...people still use it.

Harold Bergquist: We know that even in the worst case scenario the water is acceptable for human usage.

The State Health Department is accepting written comments until November 6. It could take another 30 days to make a decision.

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