Henrico's Lost Lake Is Disappearing, Lawsuit Alleges 

click to enlarge street38_lostllake_100.jpg

Members of the Lost Lake Association in Henrico County are worried that their neighborhood pond is living up to its name a little too well.

Lost Lake, officially known as Bryant Pond, is getting shallower, the association charges in a lawsuit. The lower depth makes the water more hospitable to "foul smelling algae blooms" and less welcoming to human swimmers and boaters.

The association alleges that Wilton Development Corp., which constructed the Raleigh subdivision north of Lost Lake off River Road in Henrico, provides the sediment that's building up on the bottom of the lake. The association wants Wilton to pay for the cleanup. Wilton did not return phone calls seeking comment by press time.

This inconvenience to the homeowners represents the latest chapter in the lake's recent difficulties.

"They called it Lost Lake even before it got lost," says Geoff Smith, a senior water resources engineer with Williamsburg Environmental Group who does consulting work for the homeowners' association.

"During Hurricane Isabel the dam at the north end of the lake got clogged with debris and it failed," Smith says. "Failed" is dam-talk for "broke"; in this case the dam released several million gallons of water that gushed into a creek underneath Parham Road.

Smith won't comment on the lawsuit specifically, but says the roofs, roads and driveways in a new development generally create surfaces that don't absorb water as readily as undeveloped earth. This increases the amount of water that runs off and adds elements such as motor oil and tire rubber that eventually gets deposited in, say, the bottom of a nearby pond.

The suit estimates that cleanup will cost a minimum of $75,000, plus $40 to $80 for every cubic yard of material removed from the bottom of the disappearing lake.

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