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Fayette plans to speed up Lake Peachtree dredging

With spillway fix unsure, Fayette Co. wants to dredge lake while lake level is low

The mostly dry bed of Lake Peachtree may be unsightly, but Fayette County officials see an opportunity among the mud puddles and weeds.

While it remains unsure when the spillway will be fixed, thus allowing the lake to be refilled, county officials are working to expedite the dredging of the lake bed.

The dredging is necessary to get rid of silt and muck that has accumulated over the years on the lake’s bottom. Since the shallow lake is used by the county water system as a water intake source, silt is a bad thing.

The county’s consulting engineering firm is working up a plan to have the lake dredged, and a timeline for the project is expected to be available later this week, Fayette County Administrator Steve Rapson said Monday.

“It’s safe to say the project will be expedited, but we just don’t know when it will start,” Rapson said.

The engineering firm is working on developing a cost estimate and seeing if dredging equipment is available to get the job done, Rapson said. The Army Corps of Engineers has already signed off on the lake dredging project, he added.

“No state agencies will be holding it up,” Rapson said. “It’s a matter of getting our plans on the table and getting it to Peachtree City so it can be approved too. ... In the next 90 days we should be able to have some decisions.”

By dredging the lake bed while it is drained, the county will be able to visually confirm how much material is removed, county Water System Director Lee Pope has said previously.

Because the county uses the city-owned lake as a water reservoir, the county is required to dredge the lake about every 10 years.

The lake was drained in February to allow for shore and dock maintenance, and the county planned to fill it back up in a matter of a few months. Before that could happen, structural problems were discovered with the lake’s spillway and it was decided to keep the lake level low until the integrity of the spillway could be addressed.

“We know the spillway issue will probably not be fixed in 90 days,” Rapson said. “If we had known it would be this long of a problem, we would have gone ahead and started the dredging project.”

The last time the county dredged the lake, it used a barge system to allow the lake to be dredged while at full pool. That system required the silt to be pumped to Drake Field where it could be spread out and dried before it could be trucked away.

— Additional reporting by Bonnie Hester

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