Lake dredging plans advance

August 30, 2006|By Tyrone Richardson | Tyrone Richardson,Sun reporter

After years of delays, plans for the dredging of Columbia's lakes Kittamaqundi and Elkhorn are moving forward, as Columbia Association official are weighing technical proposals and hoping to award a contract by as soon as May.

For years, both manmade lakes have been overcome with algae and sediment, a soupy mixture threatening to turn them into marshland if left untouched. Over the years, however, the Columbia Association's board of directors has put off dredging in favor of other capital projects.

Now, having set aside $5 million to dredge Lake Elkhorn and $5 million for Kittamaqundi, CA's board is considering a series of dredging options presented by Carey W. Burch, a senior planner for HDR Engineering Inc.

The work, expected to take more than a year at each lake, would be staggered. Proposals area being tailored to the specific issues facing each of the lakes.

The 27-acre Lake Kittamaqundi in Town Center is choked by sediment overflow from the Little Patuxent River, the waterway that runs alongside the lake. The lake was dredged in the 1980s.

Building up the land that separates the two waterways is only a short-lived solution to the underlying problem of the unstable river, Burch told the board at a recent meeting.

"This is only temporary because the Little Patuxent River will continue to overflow its banks," Burch said.

For the dredging itself, the consultant recommends using as a staging area of an acre or two on CA land near the Water's Edge community or the lower parking lot adjacent to the General Growth Properties building at the lakefront.

Some of the dredged material would be used to build a new peninsula and expand the existing island in the lake. The expanded land could be used in the creation of a bridge to connect the pathways around the lake.

A projected 80,000 to 85,000 cubic yards of dredging material would be hauled in about 6,000 to 8,000 truckloads via a temporary road from the site to Little Patuxent Parkway.

The 37-acre Lake Elkhorn, meanwhile, has never been dredged. Burch recommended that part of a field at Hopewell Park be used as a staging area, and an 8- to 10-inch pipe be run from the lake to Hopewell Park to pump out the dredged material.

Some of the estimated 80,000 to 85,000 cubic yards of material could be used to level-off the park's athletic field, Burch said. In addition, 6,000 to 8,000 truckloads of material could be hauled out, using Rustling Leaf to Snowden River Parkway as the access route.

Burch also identified other possible staging areas, such as green space below the lake's dam, a nearby power line right of way, the boat ramp and the Marina Cove.

He told the board that the ideas were not final, and estimated a draft plan with specifications would be completed by January.

He expects CA to award a contract in May.

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