Recent rains may put Lake Tomahawk dredging on hold

Fred McCormick

Wet, winter weather wreaked havoc on holiday plans for many in recent weeks, and that disruption may extend to Lake Tomahawk as well.

The lake was drained in December to allow time for sediment to dry out before being dredged this winter. But the project may now need to wait until 2017.

Heavy, prolonged rain in recent weeks caused the lake to fill back up with water twice, Black Mountain’s public services director Jamey Matthews said. The moisture on the lake floor increased the weight of the sediment significantly.

“The lake is down again now, so now it needs to just dry out as much as possible,” he said. “If we get a lot more rain and it stays wet and will not dry out, then we’ll have to put it off.”

The town planned to have 5,000 cubic yards of muck removed from the lake some time before the end of March, when irrigating the golf course requires the body of water be refilled.

The Black Mountain Board of Aldermen at the regular January meeting awarded the nearly $150,000 contract for the project to Cantrell Construction. The decision on whether to proceed with the project ultimately rests with the company, according to Matthews.

“We’re already in January, so you have around 12 weeks left in the window,” he said. “A lot of it depends on the contractor and what their turnaround time looks like. But once you start getting toward the end of January or the beginning of February, time starts getting a little thin.”

The town began setting aside money in 2013 for the project meant to improve the overall health of the lake and the wildlife that inhabit it.

The accumulation of the sediment on the lake floor lowers the overall depth of the water, leading to increased temperatures and overall risk of bacteria.