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Published October 06, 2009, 07:39 AM

Hearing on Devils Lake water draws questions

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) — Barnes County residents say they want to know more about the effect of higher sulfate levels before the state allows more water into the Sheyenne River through the Devils Lake outlet.

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) — Barnes County residents say they want to know more about the effect of higher sulfate levels before the state allows more water into the Sheyenne River through the Devils Lake outlet.

City-County Health Board chairwoman Sharon Buhr says more information is needed about the effects on health and the environment.

Ramsey County Commissioner Joel Belford says he's convinced the proposed release of higher sulfate levels will not harm downstream residents. He says Devils Lake water must be released to avoid a catastrophe.

The state Health Department is holding public hearings on the issue this week. It will accept written comments until Nov. 6.

Belford said it's been a tough year for Devils Lake, which has more than tripled in size. He expects the lake will freeze "very wet."

Valley City state Rep. Phil Mueller says the question is whether relief for Devils Lake will be worth the cost of water quality in the Sheyenne River.

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