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Water-Related News

Dredging of Robles Park Lake will make the Hillsborough River and Gulf cleaner

Robert Maltarp paid top dollar for his property overlooking the Hillsborough River in Tampa. But with all the trash and sediment that accumulates at the mouth of this creek, he doesn't call it waterfront.

" It's a mud front" says Maltarp.

The problem is that even normal rains in the Bay Area wash silt and litter into the nearest waterway. But a major dredging and construction project at a retention pond a mile upstream from Mr. Maltarp's house could improve his water quality and his view.

Nancy Norton of the Southwest Florida Water Management District is project manager for the Robles Park water quality project. With help from the City of Tampa and FDOT the're installing baffle boxes that filter pollutants like oil and pesticides along with larger pieces of garbage out of the water before it gets into Robles Park Lake.

They're also dredging out decades worth of sludge and garbage from the lake. Norton says no stolen cars or murder weapons were found during the dredging.

Nannette O'Hara of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program says the amount of pollution this project will keep out of the Hillsborough River is significant.

"If you fish, if you paddle board, if you kayak, you absolutely know the value of clean water. Treating the runoff water so it's cleaner when it goes into the Hillsborough River and the Bay is a benefit to everything that lives in those waterways and us" said O'Hara.

The $2.3 million dollar project at Robles Park started in December and should be finished in October. The average depth of the lake will go from just four feet to over seven feet.