Druid Park fountain out of order for the near future

October 08, 2011|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

This week, Watchdog updates readers about an unresolved problem.

Update: The fountain in the Druid Hill Park reservoir is going to remain out of commission for the time being.

Watchdog last updated the condition of the landmark in 2009, explaining that phragmites, an invasive water plant, had clogged the fountains lines.

At the time, officials with Baltimore's Department of Public Works had planned to have the fountain restored to working order in 2010.

But more than two years have passed, and nothing has changed.

The delay is partly the result of federal mandates for open reservoirs, said DPW spokesman Kurt Kocher.

The lake is a working reservoir, so it must either be covered or treated later to comply with federal requirements for drinking water quality.

"Because it is open to the elements, then an added layer is required by the federal government as part of additional safeguards to ensure quality drinking water," he said.

But the fountain must be considered as part of the overall plan to meet the federal requirements by the end of the decade, Kocher said.

"We do not know at this time what the requirements are going to be for addressing that drinking water," he said. "Until that's clarified, we're certainly not going to invest any more money into the fountain."

In 2009, the plan was to send divers into the lake to create a temporary barrier around the area, which would likely dislodge debris.

"We don't want people swimming around in there, dredging up sediment and doing otherwise to disturb the quality of what is otherwise very good drinking water," Kocher said.

If the regulations permit the fountain to remain, then it would probably be best to drain the lake.

"I know a lot of people want to see the fountain. We certainly understand that," he said.

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