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Lake Worth Dredging Starts

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Fort Worth is trying to dig Lake Worth out of a problem. The problem is having a whole lot of water in the lake but not much you can do with it for fun, like boating.

“The lake is very shallow in some places,” said Mary Gugliuzza, Communications Coordinator with Fort Worth Water Department. “And so we’re going to get it where there’s a depth of at least six feet in the main boating channels of the lake. We’re not dredging the entire lake, just selected areas.”

The business end of the dredge, called the brush, is a spinning drum with steel teeth. It churns up the bottom as it vacuums up water and mud. Another barge pumps it almost two miles through pipelines.

It ends up in the Silver Creek Materials quarry. The pipeline ends with a cascade of muddy water, plummeting into a canyon, dug out over the years by workers in search of various stone and sand. But before all the sediment winds up in the quarry, it is tested for contamination.

“You can see we wouldn’t want to get material over here and then have to deal with it,” said Paul Bounds, project manager for The City of Fort Worth, who also oversees environmental issues for the endeavor. “So what we’re doing is pre-test, make sure its clean and then allow the dredge to come through and move the material over here.”

The quarry has enough space to let the sediments — mostly sand and clay — settle out of the water. They’re perfect materials for Silver Creek Materials to put to good use.

“We will dewater it, get the sediments, and mix it with our compost to create a product called premium soil mix,” said Silver Creek Materials’ Colby Karr.

The final product is a mix of mulch, energy drinks that have exceeded their expiration date, and dredgings with a moist consistency of loose coffee grounds. Once dredging is completed and the sediment has time to dry out, Silver Creek Materials will sell the mixture.

After 1.8 million cubic feet of sediment is moved, Fort Worth hopes Lake Worth will be less of a problem for boaters. Total cost of this phase of dredging is $12.5 million. A second phase is being considered for the future.

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