WESTFIELD, NJ — The Mindowaskin Pond dredging project moves along as the park’s pond is deepened, Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea told the town council during its conference meeting Tuesday night.
As of now, the pond is empty of water and sediment removed from inside has been moved to one side. Soon, the sediment will be moved to a separate area of the pond referred to as the ultimate drying area, where it must dry out completely before it can be removed, he explained.
Waste items, including water bottles and an old bike, were removed during the dredging process, too.
“It’s basically a swamp of sorts,” Gildea said. “It’s significantly deeper than what was there before. You get a sense of the amount of material that needs to be taken out of the pond. It’s not insignificant.”
There is no target end date for the sediment removal, he said, because it is unknown how long it will take for the material to dry out. Finer, more silt-like sediment dries out quicker than the muddier, mucky material, he said.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Gildea added. “It could go on for months where it’s drying, but the material that they’ve unearthed is not as bad as they originally anticipated. It’s not expected to take until winter.”
Additionally, some of the boulders and large rocks that have fallen into the water will be returned to restore the pond’s banks. The stone paths that were created at the bottom of the pond will ultimately be removed, Gildea said, but are there for now to provide a proper base for the construction vehicles.
“Next spring, it should be completed, with all the pieces of the puzzle,” Gildea said. “The pond is going to be beautiful. It’s been a long time coming.”
Further improvements are planned for the park’s 100th anniversary in June of 2018, including restored pathways, new lighting and more.