NEW PORT RICHEY — City officials plan to partly drain the popular Orange Lake in the heart of New Port Richey to conduct environmental testing.
City Council members expressed this week the need to get the word out about the pumping project to be done with the help of an environmental consultant, which has been testing water quality and working to determine whether the lake is connected to the Floridan aquifer.
Officials with the consultant, Gaydos Hydros Services, told the council that initial testing on the lake shows it to be a remnant sinkhole, not a spring. But more investigation is needed to see if it's self-contained or connected to the aquifer. That information could be essential to the city's efforts to control flooding downtown.
The plan is for city public works to pump up to five feet of water out of the lake then wait to see if it replenishes on its own. If the water is replaced quickly, it means there is an aquifer connection. If not, the lake's water will rise only with rainfall. A date has not yet been set for the pumping and Gaydos officials said the lake's health will not be affected.