PTC Council to get dredging input Thursday

The Peachtree City Council is hoping to hear public input Thursday night on the three options for sediment removal from Lake Peachtree.

The good news is that no matter the option selected, the dredging will not require the lake’s level to be lowered, city officials have said. The matter will be discussed near the beginning of Thursday’s council agenda; the meeting begins at 7 p.m.

The last time the lake was dredged in 2003, some 32,000 cubic yards were removed and it took three to four months, according to Public Works Director Mark Caspar. That involved using barges to pump out the silt onto Drake Field so it could dry and then be loaded onto trucks and disposed of off-site, he noted.

That is one of the options available this time, but there is concern that the process will take longer because more sediment must be removed this time, Caspar said. Also, the process would tie up Drake Field, which would interfere with some major city events including the Dragon Boat Race and International Festival and also the adult triathlon, officials said.

Drake Field is also the site where the city’s July 4 fireworks display originates and thus a relocation would be required, Caspar noted.

A second option would pump the silt to create a new island on the lake north of the Battery Way boat docks or put some of the silt there and the rest on the existing island that was created in the 1980s when the lake was dredged.

A new island would create another area that could be used by citizens wanting to view the annual July 4 fireworks show, Caspar has said.

Reducing the storage capacity of the lake is not a concern for the county, which uses the city-owned lake to access water stored in Lake Kedron, according to City Engineer David Borkowski, since Lake Peachtree is quite small compared to the other reservoirs used by the water system.

Borkowski noted that the only time the county can reduce the pool level of Lake Peachtree is if a drought is declared and Lake Kedron to the north, which feeds into Lake Peachtree, is almost completely empty.

A third option presented by Caspar at a recent council workshop is to pump the silt directly into trucks to haul it away without dewatering the product. Doing so, however, would be far more expensive and it also would be difficult to contain the watery silt in the truck, Caspar said.

The final option is to avoid the dredging, which may not be as practical since there are some areas of the lake where the water only goes down two feet deep, and ultimately that will lead to the growth of aquatic vegetation, Caspar said.