A project to expand Lake Linganore’s water capacity and ensure the cleanliness of the water it provides to Frederick residents has concluded, County Executive Jan Gardner announced at a Thursday press conference.
The city, county and Lake Linganore Association partnered to fund the two-year, $21 million dredging project, which resulted in the removal of 150,000 cubic yards of sediment.
If that much sediment were laid across a football field, it would be seven stories high, Gardner said at the press conference.
Over nearly 50 years, sediment build-up from upstream tributaries has shrunk the lake’s volume and threatened to decrease the quality of a body of water that serves as Frederick’s largest single water source and as a back-up source for the rest of the county, said Stephanie Lindley, project manager and lead environmental specialist for the Maryland Environmental Service.
Upper portions of the lake, north of Boyers Mill Road, lost roughly 65 percent of its water capacity, according to a news release from the county executive’s office.
“Lake Linganore is the largest single water source for the city — providing water to Linganore Creek from which we pull to treat up to six million gallons per day to supply potable water to our residents and businesses,” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said in the release. “Volume in the reservoir must be sufficient to provide for required flow-by in Linganore Creek even during drought conditions.”
The city of Frederick financed 50 percent of the project, while the county and the Lake Linganore Association split the remaining half.
A $3 million grant from the state increased by two-thirds the amount of sediment that the dredging removed, Lindley said.
Machines removed sediment through a process called hydraulic dredging, in which sediment is mixed with water and pumped to a staging area, where the water is returned to the lake while the remaining sediment — at this point a dirt-like substance — is removed and used as landfill cover, Lindley said.
The project, which the state deemed essential work, continued through the pandemic and halted only in the winter months of 2019 and 2020 due to freezing temperatures, Lindley said.
The three parties signed the agreement to remove sediment from upstream portions of the lake in 2014, though it wasn’t until 2019 that dredging began.
“Before the first piece of equipment rolled into the Lake Linganore community in 2019, the county spent a substantial amount of time, actually years, of conducting studies and acquiring the permits that were necessary,” Gardner said.
In other news:Gardner also reminded county residents about Feeding Frederick, an initiative that the county launched at the end of 2020 to connect people struggling with food insecurity to free food distribution sites.
Nearly one in four Marylanders, many of whom are children or elderly, are dealing with food insecurity, an issue that the pandemic has exacerbated, according to the initiative’s website.
“The past 15 months have been a challenge and have been difficult for many people in our community, and for some it remains a difficult time,” Gardner said. “After losing income or falling ill, it may be a challenge simply to put food on the table or to pay rent.”
A map on the Feeding Frederick website connects county residents based on their location to organizations providing free food. The site also provides Marylanders with resources to help those who may be struggling.