This week, Lancaster Watchdog revisits several summer stories, including the long-neglected swale in West Hempfield Township and the mayfly season in Columbia.

Swale restoration coming

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Portion of the swale along Stoney Battery Road that is draining properly. There is a swale that is not draining and it is turning into a swamp along Stoney Battery Road near Church Street and the Hempfield Recreation Center. Friday, May 24, 2019

The swale along Stony Battery Road, called the “UGI Swamp” by some in West Hempfield Township is set for restoration in the coming weeks, according to a UGI representative.

First reported by Watchdog on May 26, the swale has not been restored since a gas pipe installation in late 2016 and leads to algae-filled water throughout recent summers.

A UGI executive previously told Watchdog work on the swale would begin in July, but work has not begun at the site, located on Stony Battery Road between Snapper Dam Road and Church Street.

The standing water attracts mosquitoes, raising health concerns, especially due to its proximity to a BB&T Bank and Hempfield Rec Center facilities.

The delay was due in part to talks with the Lancaster County Conservation District to ensure an appropriate restoration, according to UGI spokesman Joe Swope.

“We understand that people have been frustrated and we appreciate their patience,” he said.

The swale restoration project has gone out to bid and expects completion by the end of September.

“It’s taken some time, but we’ll be very pleased to remediate this to the satisfaction of everyone,” Swope added.

Tame mayfly season

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In this photo from June 2014, pedestrians crossing the Veterans Memorial Bridge were forced to walk around mayflies piled more than two feet deep.

The Mayfly season in Lancaster is winding down, and it has been a relatively quiet one, according to officials.

While the thousands of dead flies on the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Columbia are to be expected — they’ve appeared in dangerously high numbers for the last four summers — there have been no reported accidents on or near the bridge that have been attributed to the Mayflies this season, according to Columbia Borough Police Chief Jack Brommer.

Due to lights placed above the bridge, thousands of hatching mayflies fly up to the bridge, creating a swarm that can cause dangerously low visibility for drivers.

To make matters worse, the short lifespan of the flies cause them to drop dead, pile up and decay on the bridge, causing a slick mess for drivers.

The lights were turned off in mid June to reduce the amount of flies on the road. Columbia Borough Manager Rebecca Denlinger told Watchdog the lights will remain off for at least another week or two.

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