Dredging operation underway to restore health of Franklin Pond

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:51

    FRANKLIN-In these cool, crisp autumn days, work can be a drag—or at least it is to those at work on the partial dredging of the Franklin Pond. With machinery scooping, scraping and loading sediment into the trucks that will take it to a pit behind borough hall, Salmon Brothers of Netcong is at work removing a massive buildup of silt and sediment on the section of the pond nearest the borough garages along Corkhill Road. "They've started," said Franklin Mayor Doug Kistle. "That's good news. The actual work has been going on the past week, actually almost two weeks now." The borough originally wanted to excavate all of the sediment built up over the years from the pond. When it was able to get funding for only part of the job, officials decided to concentrate on the side farthest from Franklin Avenue in order to open the Wallkill River to its "original course." If successful, the flow of water will not accumulate more toward the middle of the pond as it has for several years, but will instead flow more normally alongside the riverbanks as it once did. Although the operation is called dredging, it's really more of an excavation. The pond's level was first lowered, exposing the silt. Salmon Brothers then built a rough road into the drained area and built platforms of heavy timbers to support the weight of the cranes that are scooping up the dirt and muck and loading it into dump trucks to be carted away. The New Jersey Zinc Company created the pond as a water supply for the borough about a century by damming the Wallkill. The pond is still the borough's backup water supply. The project was to have begun earlier this year, but work was delayed by the remnants of two hurricanes that dumped several inches of water in the area and temporarily refilled the pond. Kistle feels the work may take "several months" to be completed, depending on weather and other fac