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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Italian Lake Dredging

CONTACT: Matt Maisel
Director of Communications, City of Harrisburg
(717) 255-7295
[email protected]

UPDATE, as of December 18 — The City has been informed by the contractor that due to ground oversaturation caused by rain over the last 24 hours, the Italian Lake dredging project has been pushed back to a date to be determined. Stay tuned for the latest information, which this page will provide as it becomes available.

December 14, 2023

HARRISBURG – Even the prettiest lakes can get a little dirty.

Italian Lake will undergo the process of dredging, which will clean trash, debris, and sediment from its bottom, beginning the week of December 18-22. An exact starting date will be determined, based on weather, closer to the start of the week.

The entire process will last approximately seven to ten days.

“We last did a deep clean of Italian Lake in February 2022, and in almost two years, a lot of harm can take place beneath the surface,” said Dave Baker, City of Harrisburg Director of Facilities. “This will help make the lake healthier, and a better habitat for wildlife.”

Everything from tree leaves to trash to animal feces find their way onto the lake bed, which dirties lake water, making it unhealthy for fish and other wildlife.

The City plans to dredge one quarter of the lake each year. Last year, work was done on the southernmost quarter, closest to Division Street. This year, dredging will occur in the next closest quarter to the north. The work is being scheduled during the winter when Italian Lake has fewer visitors.

The Italian Lake area will not be closed during dredging, though members of the public are being asked to avoid to the end where the dredging is taking place.

“It could be mucky and messy, but there is nothing dangerous about the work,” said Debbie Reihart, Project Manager for Parks and Facilities overseeing the dredging. “We had the sediment tested by the Penn State soil testing lab, and there wasn’t anything toxic in the water.”

The City of Harrisburg has hired Ecological Solutions Inc., a Pennsylvania-based environmental inspection firm, to clean the lake. They will use what is essentially a giant vacuum cleaner to suck sediment and debris from the bottom of the lake. Larger debris is removed, while remaining sledge is pumped into a large, biodegradable bag.

It will cost the city approximately $27,300 a year.

Related Links

Parks & Recreation – City of Harrisburg