Whitaker Pond Biochar Stormwater Filter

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Recent updates:

  • September 5, 2022: Water Quality Filter Project at Whitaker Pond: Pre-construction info flyer
  • September 29, 2022: Construction begins Friday, September 30th and is estimated to be complete the week of October 10th, 2022. The first few days of construction will include site preparation such as installment of a silt fence and erosion control measures. Traffic control will be present for moving equipment on-site, and work crews will also be present over weekends during construction. 

Quick Facts:

  • Whitaker Pond was built in 1996, with a forebay added in 2010.
  • The filter uses a material called biochar. Biochar is a charcoal-like substance made by burning organic material, usually agricultural and forestry wastes. It's commonly used as a soil additive for enhancing structure and water retention, but also acts as a filter.
  • The biochar filter system is 1,650 sq ft.


  • This effort is being funded through two State /Federal Grants.
  • Watershed Based Funding from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 319 grant funds administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with a local match funding from VLAWMO.

Reason for project:

  • To treat pollutant loading into Lambert Creek.
  • Reducing the pollutant impact of the first flush: Nutrients, bacteria, and other debris that wash off surfaces such as parking lots, streets, and lawns in the first several minutes of a rain event. The filter is active during periods of high water when more of these pollutants are moving through Whitaker Pond.
  • Lambert Creek is impaired for high bacteria levels during storm events. Bacteria is primarily avian sourced, but also includes canine sources.
  • Biochar is an organic material similar to charcoal. It's produced at a high, consistent heat without oxygen. This process is known as pyrolysis. The resulting material has a large surface area that "grabs on" to bacteria and nutrients to remove them from water traveling through the filter. 
  • Comparable projects have been completed in the Coon Creek and Shingle Creek Watershed Districts: Coon Creek   Single Creek


  1. Draw down pond prior to construction: Fall, 2022
  2. Install underdrain that will channel filtered water into Lambert Creek
  3. Building the “biochar bench” above the underdrain
  4. Anticipated completion: Winter 2022/23


Goal: Improve health of Lambert Creek and by extension East Vadnais Lake.

For more background on how Whitaker Pond has changed over the years, check out the History of Whitaker Pond.


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