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Council discusses smell in Morris, snow removal

A motor grader moves snow on Pacific Avenue in Morris Feb. 20. Frequent snow has kept city, county and state removal crews busy this winter. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

What's the smell near the intersection of South Street and Minnesota Highway 9 in Morris? Councilman Brian Solvie asked at the Feb. 26 Morris City Council meeting.

Fellow council member Kevin Wohlers had the answer. "It's Lake Crystal," Wohlers said.

Wohlers got his answer from Ryan Mogard, the city's wastewater treatment operator. Mogard said the smell is caused by decaying organisms in Lake Crystal, Wohlers said. The smell is noticeable because the freeze-up of the lake happened much earlier than in prior winters, Wohlers said.

City manager Blaine Hill said storm sewers on South Street had been covered in snow and not venting. Snow has been removed, Hill said. Lake Crystal drains into the city's storm sewer, Hill said.

"It's kind of nasty around South Street," Hill said.

In a non-smell issue, Hill said several city residents have been calling to complain about snow in their driveways and snow at the end of crosswalks. When the city plows snow, it can get snow in the end of crosswalks and driveways, Hill said.

Snow can also get pushed over a snow ridge and into sidewalks, Hill said.

"By the time it rolls over into the sidewalk, it's a hard (chunk)," Wohlers said.

Hill said the city crew has been widening streets and pulling snow away from intersections. The crew is doing very well in the midst of frequent snowfalls and wind, Hill said.

Hill said that people need to be patient with snow removal. In his report to the city council, Hill noted that people still don't have off-street parking and aren't completely clearing their sidewalks of snow.

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