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Routine maintenance on the Lake Panorama dam is a very high priority. The LPA hires a qualified engineering firm to review the dam and its various aspects on a regular basis. As announced earlier this year and noted a year ago, routine maintenance on the concrete spillway of our dam will take place this fall. For perspective, this will be just the third time this has been done in the last 20 years.

Plans are to lower the lake four feet by lowering the bascule gate of the dam for the project to begin on October 1.  Lowering the lake level is needed to prevent water from going over the spillway so repairs to the spillway floor and walls can be made. At that time the low autumn flow of the river will be diverted through what is called the “low flow tube” in order that the lake level does not rise to again flow over the spillway. The spillway has to be dry for the repairs to be made. Repairs mostly consist of sealing cracks and repairing spalls–areas where the concrete has broken off or where imperfections in the concrete causes a small area to “pop out.”  These areas need to either be filled or smoothed depending on the engineer’s analysis, for the spillway walls and floor to remain in excellent repair. Cracks are sealed to prevent water infiltration and freezing damage.

The timing of the project cannot be delayed to help insure the outdoor temperatures are high enough for the concrete and sealing repairs to properly cure and be effective. Improper temperatures would only cause the whole process to have to be repeated soon. Avoiding that situation is also a priority.

What this means:

  1.  Since there is no way of predicting what weather will do, the lake level may not return to normal in 2015.
  2.  Boats on lifts will have to be removed prior to October 1 or they could possibly be stranded and endangered by ice and water level changes in the winter.
  3. Lifts and docks that are normally removed each winter, should be out prior to October 1 for the same reasons.
  4. IF the water level does not come back up after repairs are finished, the boating season will be completely over.
  5. Members desiring to do minor work on lakeshore riprap, may have an excellent opportunity to see the condition of their shoreline and possibly make minor repairs while the water is down.
  6. However, since the water may return to normal pool levels rapidly, there is also no guarantee the water will be down for an extended period. In other words, don’t depend on the water level staying down

This is an inconvenience to some members, however it is also an inconvenience to our own dredging department as dredging during this time must be either curtailed or highly modified which will cause delay in the completion of some areas.

A meeting between the Marina, local barge services, and LPA departments is being scheduled to encourage coordination in the timely and important removal of boats, boat-lifts and docks in time for the project to be completed.

It is possible that the timing will work well, the repairs completed and the lake return to normal pool prior to winter and still make a few isolated days of boating possible. It may also occur that another wet fall would make impossible the lowering of the lake for a long enough period to do the repairs. Let’s hope for the best! We are at nature’s mercy.

Thanks to all for your cooperation and understanding.

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