By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A major Baltimore landmark is about to undergo some big changes.

Alex DeMetrick reports, Druid Lake is going to get smaller to make drinking water safer.

It’s pretty much been the same size and had the same look since its completion in 1871.

Used to store treated drinking water for Baltimore, it’s about to shrink by nine acres.

“Because of federal regulations, we’re required to protect our water by enclosing it in tanks,” says Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Two enormous tanks capable of holding 60 million gallons of drinking water.

They will be buried underground where two coves currently make up the lake’s western shore, creating new open space out to the cement structure seen in the distance.

If not, drinking water held outdoors has to undergo additional chemical treatments before being used.

“The less chemicals we add to the water, the better off we’re all going to be,” says Rudy Chow, director of Baltimore’s Department of Public Works.

Similar conversions are already taking place at other outdoor holding facilities. An underground tank is going in at the Guilford Reservoir.

And in Towson, the reservoir was placed under a roof.

Since 9/11, security is the main reason.

“Now it’s going to be underground and out of sight, and so from a security perspective it is greatly enhanced.”

With the addition of new open space comes to opportunity for new uses.

“This is going to be a very, very beautiful site,” Mayor Pugh says. “A new amphitheater, landscaping, a wider promenade, more green space and new lighting.”

And a lake, too. Just smaller.

The Druid Lake project will cost $140 million and take five years to complete.

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