MOSES LAKE - The Moses Lake Irrigation and Rehabilitation District recently started running its hydraulic dredge and officials say progress is being made on the district's efforts to remove excess sediment from the lake.
According to MLIRD General Manager Curt Carpenter, the dredge was recently put in the water to test the effectiveness of the repairs made to the dredge since it was last up and running last summer.
Although dredging took place last July, no dredging was done this season after the MLIRD board of directors voted against reinstating the hydraulic dredge earlier this year.
Carpenter said the dredge was only operating at about 30 percent last year, but repairs and modifications have been made since then to improve its effectiveness.
He said it cost about $69,000 to repair the dredge. Carpenter said that currently, the dredge is in the water four days out of the week and generally operates for about eight hours.
He said he is very happy with the dredge's performance, compared to when it was in the water last year.
"Right now it's functioning perfect," said Carpenter.
Carpenter said that although the district has permits to operate the dredge until the end of November, it must be out of the water by the end of this month.
The district board of directors voted to have dredging operations stop on Oct. 30 during a meeting last Friday, he said.
According to board chair Mick Hansen, the dredge is only in the lake for the month of October because the engineering firm hired to do a study on the dredging project requested information.
"It's in the water, but the purpose is not to dredge," he said. "The engineer wants to know how fast the pond drains."
Hansen said the firm, Cardno Entrix, is still working on evaluating the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to dredge the lake.
"We didn't plan on running the dredge at all," he said. "But we had to do tests and so it will be in the water for the rest of the month."
Carpenter and board director Ron Covey were not present during the meeting, said Hansen.