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Dane County announces plan for new water collection basin near East Towne Mall

Dane County plans to fund water cleanup effort near East Towne Mall.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Dane County announced on Tuesday their plans to fund the majority of a project to prevent waste runoff into county lakes under their Urban Water Quality Grant Program.

The project will involve the reconstruction of East Towne Pond, which will serve as a collection basin for thousands of pounds of sediment and algae that had previously been running into Lake Monona.

The county estimates that 80,000 pounds of sediment and 195 pounds of phosphorus will be collected in the pond. Phosphorus is a key component in creating algae, which can produce chemicals toxic to fish.

The reconstructed pond will be located just south of East Towne Mall, an area that produces a massive amount of pollution that ends up in Lake Monona and other local lakes.

The county announced an $820,000 cost for the project, of which they will pay $615,000 with the City of Madison providing the rest of the money. In addition to the East Towne Pond project, the county will increase ground staff to work with farmers on implementing conservation projects. The National Association of Conservation Districts has provided the county with $80,000 to assist in the effort. The grant is expected to be accepted by the county board at their meeting Tuesday night.

The new project is a part of the Urban Water Quality Grant Program, an effort by the county to improve lake quality by diverting trash and other pollutants into special collection basins.

The county started the program in 2005 and has since helped to fund over 60 projects, keeping 800,000 pounds of garbage and other pollutants from entering bodies of water. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced a $1.3 million budget for the program in 2018.

Every year, the county designates 10 target areas for improvement projects, and municipalities that propose projects in those areas are eligible to have 75 percent of the cost covered by the county.

“There is no one solution to cleaning up our lakes,” Parisi said in the announcement. “Our lakes are irreplaceable and cleaning them up will help our children enjoy our lakes for generations to come.”

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