Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, June 24, 2002

Howard Lake to be treated for swimmer's itch

By Lynda Jensen

Swimmer's itch caused by the water at Howard Lake was a subject of the Howard Lake City Council Tuesday.

The council approved treatment of the beach areas, and opened an option for lake shore owners to do the same, as part of a package presented by resident and lake association member Curtis Forst.

The treatment, which is made of copper sulfate, also kills green slime and other kinds of algae as well, although it does not harm the environment, Forst said.

Copper sulfate does not require any fishing activities to stop, Forst noted, although swimmers are prohibited from entering the water within 24 hours after the application.

Swimmer's itch, otherwise known as chiggers, is caused by snail larvae or snail parasites that are floating in the water looking for a host, Forst said.

Swimmers using the beach become an unintended host when they enter the water, Forst said.

If swimmers would towel vigorously every half hour, this would rub the parasites off, he said. However, this might be difficult to do with children, he noted.

More lakeshore owners who participate with the project will help, since contractors that apply the spray prefer to come out for larger jobs, he said.

The contractor will take care of permits that are needed from the Department of Natural Resources.

The cost for the city will be $300 to $400 per treatment, with two treatments per year recommended. Lake owners would be charged per foot.

There is also an added charge for the application, which Forst estimated at $150, and about $55 for the copper sulfate. The permit fee would be $4 per 100 feet.

"It's an excellent idea," Council Member Don Danford said.

Clerk Gene Gilbert suggested using money from the vending machine at the park to cover part of the cost for one of the treatments. This was well received by the council, which passed the idea.

Sanitation stays with Mumford

The council awarded the low bid to Mumford Sanitation for the city recycling contract, in the amount of .95 cents per resident. The bid reflects a .30 cent decrease from the Howard Lake hauler.

The city also received a bid from Waste Management of Winsted for $1.75 per week.

The city is technically not required to call for bids if it is under an existing contract for service with someone, Gilbert said.

Mumford has been doing Howard Lake's recycling contract ever since the city has been required to recycle, or about 10 years.

During that time, the rates have not increased.

Council members discussed recycling service with Sheldon Swensen, district sales manager of Waste Management, and Glen Mumford, who was also at the meeting.

Mayor Gerry Smith asked Mumford if he could manage the low bid, since it was such a drop from before.

Mumford indicated that he did most of the work himself, and that as long as he had enough to pay his help, he was OK.

"I'd like to continue in town," Mumford said quietly. "It's a tough business to be in."

Council member Tom Kutz asked Mumford why he decreased his offer.

"I just want to keep it," Mumford said, referring to the contract. It was the same offer he gave the City of Waverly, he said.

Council members discussed what is needed to make sure that recycling items are picked up, although Mumford comes back to pick up items if this is needed, it was noted.

"We've always gotten good service from him (Mumford)," Gilbert said.

Council member John Swanson asked Mumford if he had problems with people mixing recycling items.

Mumford indicated there were a few that were usual offenders, but otherwise nothing unusual. It's more difficult to pick up recycling that is hoarded, since this goofs up his route, he said.

Council member Shelly Reddemann noted that the most recent pick up looked irregular. "There were some wild-looking stops," he said.

Swensen pressed the council to bundle the recycling and regular sanitation services together, since this allows Waste Management to come up with a better offer for the city.

The trash contract is based on a two-year period and will be up next year, Gilbert said.

Resident Pat Van Oss questioned the long-term competitiveness of Waste Management.

"What assurance do we have that your price will remain constant?" he asked.

Swensen pointed out that the price is agreed upon during the life of the contract, when the contract is made.

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