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Published July 13, 2011, 09:47 PM

Leaders Hope Soil Tests Will Help Lead to Faster Way of Taking Water Off Devils Lake

The State geologist was onsite Wednesday to take samples that will determine if the city can remove dirt that has settled into the coulee since statehood.

The State geologist was onsite Wednesday to take samples that will determine if the city can remove dirt that has settled into the coulee since statehood.

Ed Murphy is looking for Russian thistle pollen to determine the elevation of the coulee at statehood.

"Everyone's pretty much in agreement that Russian thistle was introduced in this area around statehood, around 1889," Murphy said.

Although a very similar study was done in 1997, the city of Devils lake wanted to double check the results.

"There is some concern that maybe the original analysis may have missed a couple of areas so they want to do another review of that work," Devils Lake city engineer Mike Grafsgaard said.

The samples are being taken from a few other locations, but some of them are very close to where the samples were taken in 1997.

"We are a few hundred yards west of where we were 14 years ago," Murphy said.

But those few hundred yards may make a difference.

"Possibly in the order of a foot or so, it might be reasonable. Or maybe exactly the same," Murphy said.

The city is hoping that the study comes up with different results.

"We are hoping for more sediment obviously. I think that city is very concerned about the size of the lake the issues associated with the current elevation of the lake and just trying to determine a way of getting water off of the lake as quickly as possible," Grafsgaard said.

But the city may have to wait awhile to get the results.

"The studies that we've done previously, it usually takes the order of six to eight weeks or so to get the results back," Murphy said.

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