LAUREL – Dredging of the Laurel Lake has begun but will take longer than planned because of delays in receiving permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Officials originally hoped to begin the project shortly after July 4, said County Councilman Mary Lehman, who represents District 1 […]
LAUREL – Dredging of the Laurel Lake has begun but will take longer than planned because of delays in receiving permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Officials originally hoped to begin the project shortly after July 4, said County Councilman Mary Lehman, who represents District 1 which includes Laurel.
Lauren Kinard, spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, said the lakes need to be dredged to prevent sediment accumulation. Kinard said the lake’s sediment levels are currently three feet from the bottom of the lake’s forebay, almost at the lake’s limit.
“The dredging operations are required when sediment accumulation in the upper lake exceeds three feet above the bottom elevation of the forebay,” Kinard said.
By dredging the lake, Kinard said, water quality will improve and slopes on the north banks near homes will become stabilized. Dredging will also improve aesthetics.
Lehman said the project is important because it would remove debris and dirt from the bottom of the lake, and because Laurel residents are expecting it to be done.
“I got the money in the county capital project budget two or three years ago,” Lehman said. “People have waited a long time for this project long before I got it in the budget.”
Lehman said the lake has not been dredged on the schedule originally proposed after its construction in 1986.
“This lake has not been dredged in decades,” Lehman said. “It was supposed to be done every 10 years and that hasn’t happened. It’s only been done once before since the community was built.”
The Prince George’s County Department of the Environment said the lake has not been dredged because it was not necessary before.
Despite her frustrations, Lehman said she is confident the project will be completed by spring of 2015. However, she said there is concern that if work does not begin until September or October, the project could be further delayed by winter weather.
“I don’t think there’s any cause for concern just yet,” Lehman said, “but I don’t want it to get too far off schedule.”
The project has already been delayed while the county waited to obtain permits from the state and the U.S. Army Corps Engineers.
“Permit approval timeframe is six to nine months,” Kinard said. “Both permit applications were submitted in Nov. 2013. However, permits were not issued by the state until July 2014.”
The county estimates dredging will take between six and nine months to complete.
According to Kinard, the county estimates dredging to cost between $1 million and $1.5 million.