Bulldozers move in for Tempe Town Lake cleanup

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The cleanup of Tempe Town Lake got under way Wednesday when bulldozers and street crews will began work to restore the lake.

The bulldozers will be used to restore the bottom of the lake to its original condition, remove debris and fill in puddles.

By grading the lake bottom, fewer chemicals will be necessary to control the mosquitoes in the area.

“This project is very similar to building a road,” said Street Maintenance Superintendent Denise Brewer. “Even though this is a river bottom, this something we are very experienced at doing.”

The grading process will be less expensive and better for the environment compared to other solutions.

As part of the process, debris that's potentially dangerous to boaters, swimmers and divers will be removed.

"There is quite a bit of debris that's been washed in from some of the storms and obviously people throwing stuff into the lake," said Denise Brewer of the City of Tempe.

"We get a lot of stuff coming downstream when it floods," said Kris Baxter, also with the city. "That's part of what they're grading out of the lake right now."

One of the bulldozer operators said they've found fishing poles, rusted bicycles, street signs and barrels.

The dead fish giving off an unpleasant smell in the area will be loaded into a dump truck and taken away where they will be composted for fertilizer.

“Tempe is very concerned about the environment and about sustainability. The essence of these fish can help gardens and plants throughout our city. We also want to remove as many of the fish as possible to remove odors and keep our community healthy,” said Council member Onnie Shekerjian.

The cleanup will take place daily from 5 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. until the job is finished. Brewer said crews estimate it will take about 200 hours, which is about a month.

For updates on the clean-up progress visit http://www.tempe.gov/lake/DamReplacementUpdates.htm.