Effort Underway To Improve Water Quality in Robbinsdale’s Sochacki Park
Development has overtaken much of the metro. But there are still some places that remain relatively untouched.
“This park space really is an asset to the community. We don’t have many natural spaces in this community,” said Mike Sorensen, a water resources specialist with the city of Robbinsdale.
He’s referring to Sochacki Park, a 62-acre urban oasis that sits in both Robbinsdale and Golden Valley.
“This is one of those types of spaces where people can maybe disconnect from their cell phones and computers and come out and hear birds chirp, see animals, go for a walk, get some fresh air,” Sorensen said of Sochacki Park.
Yet like many other major environmental resources in the Twin Cities, the park has its fair share of challenges.
A recent study conducted by the Three Rivers Park District and Barr Engineering Co. found that the three ponds located within Sochacki Park (Grimes Pond, North Rice Pond and South Rice Pond), have poor water quality. Now Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, Three Rivers and the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission are on a mission to change that.
“Everybody has a hand in improving and protecting our water,” said Laura Jester, an administrator with the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission (the ponds serve as a tributary to Bassett Creek).
Her organization is in the early stages of working with the Three Rivers Park District and the two suburbs to implement a water quality improvement project at Sochacki Park at a cost of $2.3 million.
“Not only will the projects improve the water quality, hopefully reduce some of the odor that the residents have complained about in the past, in these ponds,” Jester said.
Some of that work would include stabilizing the hillsides to limit the sediment and phosphorous that goes into the water, alum (aluminum sulfate) treatments and a drawdown of the ponds.
“It’s kind of a tricky project because we’re not only trying to deal with new pollutants that are washing into the ponds every day, but we’re dealing with 50-100 years’ worth of pollutants that have washed into the ponds in the past that are currently in there,” Sorensen said.
But the work they do will help ensure that future generations can enjoy this area 100 years into the future.
“We’re passionate about this space,” Sorensen said. “And we want to do what we can to improve everything.”
A feasibility study will take place later this summer. The organizations hope to begin work on the ponds in 2024 and fund much of the project through grants.
Members of the public will have a couple of opportunities to weigh in on the Sochacki Park water quality improvement project. The Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission will hold a public hearing on May 18 and again in September.
Related: Water Clarity Treatments Begin on Crystal Lake in Robbinsdale