Furman Lake Restoration Project Set for Next Month

If left to its own devices Furman Lake in Greenville, SC, would quietly disappear, fading back into the two streams that created it when they were dammed in the 1950s. That’s why Furman is set to embark on a lake restoration project beginning on or around March 9.

Image source: geoforminternational.com

“When you slow water down, particulates that are contained in those streams – mud and silt – fall out of suspension, and that then accumulates. The depth gets shallower and shallower and shallower,” Furman Professor of Biology, Wade Worthen, said.

“If you want a lake there, you have to dredge that out. Otherwise the natural progression is the lake will fill up with sediment, and the water will return to the shape of a stream.”

Next month, the Greenville-based firm 3R Industrial and Environmental Contractors will begin setting up equipment designed to remove tons of that sediment, Furman University informs.

Scot Sherman, Furman’s director of landscape and construction, estimates the dredging will take at least two months, during which time machinery will be a constant presence on the water and a portion of the 1.6-mile Swan Lake Trail will also be closed.

The lake is also known as Swan Lake.

“You’ll see piping coming from the dredge machines,” he said. “For several weeks the path will be blocked, but we don’t know exactly how long.”

Unlike a previous, and largely unsuccessful, effort to dredge the lake in 2006 by scooping out the silt, this time water levels won’t be lowered to expose the bed. Instead, a “Dino6” dredge will work on the surface, pulling up debris churned from the bottom by a rotating cutting bar and pumping it into “Geotubes” on shore, which will trap the solid particles while letting the liquid escape.


Story by Ron Wagner ’93, Senior Writer