DULUTH, Minn. (AP)
-- Lake Superior’s water level is near a record high after an unusually wet
summer and early fall in Minnesota, leading to concerns about damage to its
The Star Tribune
reports that the lake was about 603 feet above sea level in September, the
highest point it’s reached since 1997. It is 2 inches short of the record
set in October 1985.
The high water
level has damaged docks and caused water to seep into nearby homes.
The raised water
under Duluth’s sandy soil has led to lake water seeping into aging sanitary
sewer pipes, said Eric Shaffer, chief engineer of utilities for the city.
have anywhere to go,” he said. “Everything’s saturated.”
Duluth’s Park Point Community Club are concerned that stormy months ahead
will raise water levels even more, said Dawn Buck, the club’s president.
The lake basin has
been getting above average rainfall for the past 10 years, said Missy
Kropfreiter, a hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’
Detroit District. The basin received 30 percent more rainfall than average
last month, she said.
owners are asking officials to let out some of the lake’s water, but
international regulations dictate outflow procedures.
“This is not just a
U.S. facility or a U.S. lake, there is an international interest at stake
here. ... There’s an official process that has to occur,” Kropfreiter said.
“We can’t just rip open a bunch of gates to draw the lake down.”
Six of the lake’s
16 gates are open and releasing water, compared with the five gates that
were open this time last year, Kropfreiter said. Releasing too much water
too quickly could create problems downstream, she said.
“It’s always like a
balancing act,” Kropfreiter said.