Residents interested in the massive dredging project at John Redmond Reservoir received an update on the work ahead during a special meeting in Hartford on Thursday night.
Kansas Water Office Assistant Director Earl Lewis said an environmental impact statement was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency for review a few days ago. A 30-day comment period begins April 11, and people can go online to www.kwo.org for information. A hard copy will be available at the Coffey County Library in Burlington.
Lewis says this is an important project because it restores water for recreational and business use, including backup storage for Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station. It is also noteworthy because of the partnerships involved. This project is the first of its kind in the nation where a dredging project is led by a state agency, in this case the Water Office, for a Corps of Engineers-owned lake.
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Pre-construction activities should begin later this year with actual dredging sometime next year. It could be 2016 before work is completed.
One big question is what happens to the nearly three million cubic yards of dirt when it's removed. Water Office spokesperson Susan Metzger says it will initially be placed on 150 acres of Corps of Engineers property near the reservoir. The Water Office is then negotiating with landowners below the dam who may be interested in having the dirt. Metzger says the dirt has been subjected to a sediment analysis and is safe for use. She says it will cover about 500 acres once it's fully removed.
For information, call the Water Office at 785-296-3185 or go online to www.kwo.org.