Franklin Pond drained in anticipation of dredging

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:47

    Franklin-Franklin Pond isn't drying up, although it looks that way to those driving past or visiting the borough landmark. But the level of the pond has been lowered to prepare for a dredging operation that won't take place until late this summer. The borough secured a $450,000 grant from the state last autumn to remove the build-up or silt and debris that threatens to choke it. Initial plans called for bids to be left for the dredging by December and the work to be completed by March 15. Needing more funds to fully dredge the pond, the borough delayed the project. Now, with no new state funding available, the town has decided to do as much work as possible with the money already at hand. "We're lowering the pond right now in anticipation of the dredging," said Borough Clerk Rachel Heath. The job has been advertised and bids will be closed at 2 p.m. July 8. Borough officials say that a contract will be awarded shortly thereafter. The winning contractor, officials say, is expected to be whichever promises to remove the most material for the money available. As with so many sites in the borough, the pond, which is actually a dammed-off stretch of the Wallkill River, goes back to the days of the zinc mines. As far back as 1910, it was a source of water for the borough. Today, the borough gets its water from wells, but the pond remains the back-up reservoir. Over the years, silt build-up has significantly reduced its depth and encouraged the growth of weeds. A major flood in August, 2000, delivered massive loads of sediment and debris that finally made dredging mandatory. The borough wanted to dredge the entire pond, but will settle for clearing out debris and silt from where the Wallkill River enters the pond. The dredging will allow a freer flow of water through the pond and increase its capacity, said Mayor Doug Kistle. "That's a pretty big sized area that is going to be removed," Kistle said. "About 30,000 cubic yards."