Crofton fills lake from fire hydrant PUMP IT UP! WEST COUNTY--Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

November 24, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

On a good day, Lake Louise is as deep as the average man is tall. People picnic on its banks, and birds flock to the rushes on its shores.

But a dry spell can turn Crofton's one-acre pond into Puddle Louise.

For $396 and a hunk of rubber hose, leaders of the Crofton Civic Association hope to put a temporary end to dependency on the whims of Mother Nature.

They've paid the county Department of Utilities to pump thousands of gallons from a nearby fire hydrant into the glorified drainage ditch that stands near the main entrance of the community on Route 3.

The county water costs $1.32 per 1,000 gallons -- "very inexpensive," according to Town Manager Jordan Harding.

When Mr. Harding looks at Lake Louise, he sees more than a holding area for storm runoff. At his urging, clean-up crews, paid and volunteer, hauled away dead trees, removed underbrush and cleaned up trash.

The pond, named for Louise Davis, the wife of Crofton founder Hamilton Crawford's right-hand man, looks like part of a park. People stroll the grassy slopes, and blue herons and snowy egrets have been spotted on its water.

"It has turned into a beautiful passive recreational site," said Mr. Harding last week, standing near his prize project.

Now, the question is, how do you keep it full?

The fire hydrant dumping 150 gallons of water a minute temporarily solves the problem. And the deal with the county will pay for a test filling of 300,000 gallons --enough to see how long it takes for the water level to drop.

Community leaders would like to buy a $4,000 pump -- a more sophisticated solution. Mr. Harding figured Crofton could tap into an underground water supply fed by the Little Patuxent River and pump Lake Louise full.

Crofton applied for a grant from the county to split the cost, but money for beautification projects isn't high on anyone's list.

The community, with a tight budget of its own, decided two weeks ago to drop the $4,000 pump from next year's budget, which board members are still debating.

The town manager hopes the test proves that Lake Louise will hold water for a decent interval and make the hydrant an option. Meanwhile, he will continue looking for a more permanent solution.

"People like to take walks around the lake," Mr. Harding said. "It is a bird sanctuary of sorts. Cleaning it up has made it an attractive lake."

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