ISHPEMING — Lake Bancroft has been slowly filling up with organic sediment since the 1930s, when the only stream leading into it was blocked off.
The all-volunteer Lake Bancroft Committee is trying to prevent it from becoming a swamp. Dredging would have been too expensive, so the group has installed a pump system.
“Nothing’s coming out of the water. We’re just getting everything to stick together basically, and then it’ll get heavy and it should sink to the bottom of the lake,” Lake Bancroft Committee chairman Jim Bertucci said. “And that’s our goal here, to get everything to sink to the bottom of the lake and get some sunlight in there.”
The pumps, located underneath these barrels, are sending lake water to what are called floc logs.
“The floc logs are a polymer, which is actually approved for use around human food and whatever, so it’s not detrimental to the environment,” Lake Bancroft Committee technical adviser Carr Baldwin said.
The water and floc log material is then pumped back into the lake, where the floc log material will bind with the sediment and send it to the bottom. The pumps were turned on last Wednesday.
The Lake Bancroft Committee wanted the floc logs to operate all summer, but it got off to a late start so the system will only run for a few weeks this fall before the water temperature gets too cold.
“It depends somewhat on the weather. If we have a cold spell coming in now, I don’t know how much that’ll cool the water down,” Baldwin said. “When (the pump) isn’t effective we’ll quit, roll up things, and wait until next spring to start up again.”
“We’re going to have to have some additional funds next summer to pay the for polymers and stuff.”
Baldwin estimates that cost at somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,000 to $8,000, which the Lake Bancroft Committee will have to raise.
Lake Bancroft could be fished for trout and walleye at one time, but more work needs to be done before it could be re-stocked with fish.
“We have to first clean the lake out as best we can,” Bertucci said. “Start getting those pumps that were in here before to air rate it and we had the fountains in here to airrate some of the water.”
The restoration effort is dependent on volunteer work and donations, including the city donating the electricity needed to power the pumps.