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Publication Abstract

Lake Dredging in Illinois and a Preliminary Assessment of Pre-dredging Conditions at Lake Springfield Bhowmik, Nani G., William P. Fitzpartick, John. A. Helfrich, and Edward C. Krug, 1988  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS CR-453    Full Text Available
Illinois lakes serve as a major sink of the sediment and pollution transported by streams. Sediments and pollutants accumulate in lakes and cause use impairment due to volume loss, shallowness, turbidity, habitat destruction, eutrophication, taste and odor problems, and loss of aesthetic values. Lake dredging is a technique for removing accumulated sediments and rehabilitating lost lake resources. Although lake dredging has been performed in the past on Illinois lakes, these projects have been on a relatively small scale. The amount of lake dredging is expected to increase in the future as older lakes experience cumulative use impairment over time. This research project documented past dredging programs in Illinois and assessed the potential effects of lake dredging on Lake Springfield, one of the state’s largest man-made water supply lakes. The City of Springfield plans to dredge 2.7 million cubic yards of sediment from the lake over the period 1987 through 1989. This is the largest dredging project to date in the state and represents the scale of future dredging projects anticipated at other lake sites in the state. This research analyzed lakebed sediments obtained prior to dredging activities in Lake Springfield for trace metal, organic chemistry, and physical characteristics for a preliminary assessment of the potential pollution problems that could occur as a result of dredging. The results show detectable levels of organic insecticides, herbicides, and trace metals in the lakebed sediments; however, the concentrations of these constituents are relatively low. This research concluded from the observed concentrations of contaminants in the sediments of Lake Springfield that disturbance of these sediments by dredging (using conventional dredging techniques to minimize resuspension) could cause some localized elevated turbidity levels. However, there is little evidence that the contaminants in the sediment could cause measurable contamination of the water in the lake. Further research is needed to measure the actual release of contaminants to the lake water during the dredging operation in order to more accurately assess the effects of dredging on the use of the lake and the lake’s water quality.


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