Dam Evaluation Begins

Lake Waramaug's currentdrought-reduced water level had one positive effect: allowing engineers to begin survey work on the dam at the New Preston end of the lake which releases water into the East Aspectuck River.  Necessary repairs and imporovements to the dam have been in disucssion for some time. It is estimated that all permits, drawings and specifications will be completed this fall so that bidding on the acutal construction can be done. That work is expected to begin in the spring or summer of 2017.

The Lake Waramaug Dam, owned by the Town of Washington, uses a pipe and gate system to control water flow and the lake's water level. Its aging technology has made it difficult to execute those adjustments. Although Connecticut keeps records of over 4,000 dams statewide, responsibility for inspection and repair has been shifted to the owners, as detailed in a new Dam Safety Regulation that took effect in February.

Although safety issues such as flood control, fire protection and safe boating are the primary considerations for dam maintenance, management of the water level is also a vital tool for water quality control. Low levels create a favorable condition for the growth of invasive weeds and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), prevent the emigration from the lake of the harmful alewife population and inhibit the natural surface skimming of dead and dying organic material. Consequently, the Task Force has been active in encouraging the dam improvement project.

The Town of Washington has budgeted $50,000 for the engineering phase of the project and another $50,000 for construction.

Note: An interesting history of the Lake Waramaug Dam appears in the Lake Waramaug Association's May 2016 newsletter. "Waramaug's Unique Outlet - An Historical Perspective on Our Dam."