Cleanup Begins for Dover's Mirror Lake - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cleanup Begins for Dover's Mirror Lake

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC)- Downtown Dover's Mirror Lake has had decades of issues, like chemical contamination, storm water runoff and sedimentation. Thursday afternoon the process to finally deal with all that officially kicked off.

Work on the lake actually started Oct. 1. The Mirror Lake project has two parts. The smaller part will stabilize the banks to prevent erosion and the under-cutting of the lake's banks. The bigger part aims to fix the contamination problem that's plagued the 3.5-acre lake for so long.
Richard Greene, a DNREC scientist, says the material crews are using is pellets of activated carbon, sand and clay.

"It can be thrown on top of the water," he said. "It sinks to the bottom, breaks apart and forms a layer of carbon. That carbon soaks the contamination up."

Greene says this is the first time that material, called Sedimite, has been used on this scale anywhere in America. He's confident it will work at Mirror Lake, though he acknowledges there are no guarantees.

"Just because it can be done in a laboratory setting doesn't mean it can be implemented on a larger scale."

The project is running about $1 million, mainly state funds. Dover Mayor Carleton Carey says lots of people use the area around the lake.

"It's going to add to the beauty of this lake," he said. "It's going to clean it up, the way it should have been."

"It's a neat confluence of addressing historical remediation, historical contamination issues and improving the recreation and aesthetics of downtown Dover," said Dean Holden, chair of the Silver Lake Commission.

Greene says if the project is successful there will be a 90-percent reduction in chemicals in this water, and that would happen way faster than mother nature could do it.

"We're predicting that rather than taking approximately 50 years for the system to naturally purge itself, cleanse itself to where we could eat the fish, it should take less than five years."

DNREC expects to be able to see a significant change in water quality by this time next year. If this system works well in Mirror Lake, it could be used at other contaminated sites across the state, perhaps even the country.

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