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Home News-Telegram News Dredging to begin at Cooper Lake intake channel

Dredging to begin at Cooper Lake intake channel

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By KERRY CRAIG

    With the water level low in Cooper Lake, access to water in the lake could soon be limited, so steps have begun to remove a silt barrier to the channel to water intake pumps for Sulphur Springs, North Texas Municipal Water District, city of Irving and Upper Trinity Regional Water Authority.
    The idea of dredging was first discussed about eight years ago, when the water level in the lake had dropped to the point a channel needed to be opened.
    Several years ago, NTMWD began exploring the possibility of dredging that silt dam to gain access to more water. The cost for Sulphur Springs to participate in the dredging made the city's participation too expensive.
    Late last year, NTWMD again began discussing dredging, which will benefit Sulphur Springs, without asking other users of Cooper Lake water to participate in the costs.
    Equipment is being moved in near the water intake structure on the south side of Cooper Lake in order to open access to more water in the lake, according to Jeff Hogan of North Texas Municipal Water District.
    Hogan said the dredging is a project of the NTWMD, the city of Irving and Upper Trinity Regional Water Authority.
    “We are dredging the intake channel — a former stream, Findley Branch — that has been silted in over the years,” he said. “It won't enable us to access the full of Lake Cooper. We are not dredging the whole lake, it's just about a mile of the intake channel.”
    The process will involve the use of a barge and pumps extending suction lines into the lake.
    “We will be using hydraulic dredging so, basically, we are sucking the silt out of the former stream bed,” he said. “We are pushing the water south to an area where we have 50 acres owned by North Texas Municipal Water District and the city of Irving.”
    Hogan also said steps will be taken to prevent the silt stirred up by the project from getting into the nearby water intake structure and into water lines.
    “We will have what we call turbidity curtains which prevents the stuff we stir up from getting too far away from us and keeping it out of the intake,” he said.
    This will have a positive impact on Sulphur Springs' portion of water in Cooper Lake, according to City Manager Marc Maxwell.
    “Yes, and for a longer period of time,” Maxwell said. “We can get to our water now, but if the level drops a few more feet, we may have water in the lake that we can't get to unless the silt barrier is removed.”
    Sulphur Springs owns the rights to more than 18,000 acre-feet of water in the lake and the dredging being done by NTMWD to remove the silt dam will put the city in “excellent condition,” according to the city manager.
    “The main thing that it means for Sulphur Springs is that we can get to our water,” Maxwell said. “Our account usually stays nearly full, but having a full water account and being able to get to it are two different things.”
    Maxwell said the water department will closely monitor the water pumped from Cooper Lake during the dredging process for increased silt and will be ready to begin pumping water from Lake Sulphur Springs if the silt becomes a problem.
    The NTMWD spokesman did not indicate how long the dredging process would take.

 

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