Oct 25, 2021 - News

Bachman Lake scheduled for $25 million dredging

A bench overlooking a placid lake.

Bachman Lake, on the north side of Love Field. Photo courtesy of Brandon Donner Photography

Dallas City Council will consider a $25 million construction contract this week, for the dredging of Bachman Lake in Northwest Dallas.

Why it matters: The dam and spillway of the 205-acre lake, on the north side of Love Field, are long overdue for repair.

  • Advocates of the project want the marshy, murky Bachman to become the northwest side of the city’s own version of White Rock Lake.

Context: The city has considered several options for renovations over the years, including one that would narrow the lake to a thin channel of water, but in 2019 a task force voted unanimously for a “maintain the lake” plan.

What’s happening: The project will remove sediment and debris, and update the hydrology and hydraulics of the Bachman Dam and Spillway then add a skate park and more trails.

Flashback: A century ago, Bachman was a source of drinking water and one of the most important bodies of water in the area. During World War II the lake hosted a YMCA camp.

  • By the ‘80s and ‘90s, the lake was associated with sex work and drugs.
  • Bachman Lake became “shorthand for lawlessness, decline, decay,” former DMN columnist — and Northwest Dallas resident — Robert Wilonksy wrote two years ago.

What they’re saying: “These improvements will help revitalize the lake, improve water quality, ensure dam safety and regulatory compliance, minimize flood risk, and allow residents to enjoy the lake for years to come” Dallas Water Utilities senior public affairs officer Estela Ornelas told Axios.

By the numbers: The dredging project is expected to remove 370,000 tons of sediment from the lake. It will be covered in a landfill.

  • The construction contract, worth $24,775,602.98 will go to Renda Environmental, Inc.
  • Funding will be provided by DWU, with Park and Recreation contributing $4 Million.

Of note: White Rock also has its own repair project in the works.

State of play: Assuming City Council approves the contract, dredging is expected to start this winter.


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