Voyageurs National Park is the nation's only water-based national park, with more than 84,000 acres of water and 134,000 acres of land. The interconnected waterways of the Park provide an unparalleled opportunity to explore the north woods lake country. Unfortunately, those waters are being negatively affected by human impact such as wastewater generation and disposal from existing developments throughout the region. This water quality degradation threatens the long-term health of the ecosystem and economic health of the tourism industry upon which the local economy is based. The Voyageurs National Park Clean Water Joint Powers Board is a collaboration between Koochiching and St. Louis Counties and was established to address the need for improved wastewater treatment in the area.
In 2010, SEH worked with the Joint Powers Board to prepare a Comprehensive Wastewater Plan. The plan outlined four major areas, which are also major access points to Voyageurs National Park. The areas identified were Island View (along the shores of Rainy Lake), Lake Kabetogama, Ash River, and Crane Lake. Priority for improvements in these areas was established based on age and condition of existing septic systems, among other factors. Projects that would address the most issues and immediately improve water quality were chosen to be constructed first.
The Ash River area consists of a mix of resorts and seasonal and year round lake homes. Many of the parcels are not suitable for on site treatment systems because of small parcel size or poor soils, including the presence of groundwater or rock. A project to improve wastewater treatment in the area is just beginning and is in report phase. The report will review several options for collection and treatment of wastewater from each property. We will be in contact with each property owner to get input on location of existing septic tanks and dispersal systems and to talk about options for future connection. The anticipated project schedule is below:
Project Update Newsletters will be sent to property owners periodically. If you'd like to receive email communication about the project, including the Newsletters, please contact Colin Marcusen.