After six years of work and about $140 million in mostly federal and state funds, Druid Hill Lake Reservoir is back in full operation — providing covered and treated fresh water for Bolton Hill and hundreds of thousands of other residents and businesses in the city, Baltimore County and beyond.
The city declared the covered reservoir project to be complete as of Dec. 21, 2023, after the federal Environmental Protection Agency ordered completion of the long-delayed project and another at Lake Ashburton by year’s end. The Druid Hill tank — about 450 feet in diameter – is more than 20 feet tall and can hold 50 million gallons of filtered and treated water.
Water from Druid Lake Reservoir reaches an area that stretches northwest from Elkridge in Howard County toward Arbutus, cuts through the middle of Baltimore City and includes a large section of Baltimore County north of the city in Parkville, Towson and Cockeysville. The two facilities were among the last public water reservoirs in the northeast to comply with a 2006 EPA regulation. At that time the city had five uncovered water storage facilities.
Additional site work for both locations, including park amenities, is scheduled for completion next summer, but given DPW’s history on the project, that likely is optimistic. Although the tank in Druid Hill Park is operational, it is bare and exposed, waiting for landscaping. According to DPW, most of the remaining portion of Druid Lake will continue as a recreational amenity. Water will be aerated to keep it fresh, though instead of drinking water it will mostly be for stormwater runoff from Druid Park.
A year or so ago the city announced plans to make the lake available for swimming, boating and fishing. Calls to DPW to check on when that construction might begin went unreturned.