Glasgo Pond will go dry again this fall, but this time residents along the shore will be prepared for the year-long repair project to the century-old dam. .
About 30 residents attended an informational meeting Aug. 13, where officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Uncas Health District and engineering firm Fuss & O’Neil addressed residents’ questions about the project.
Local residents have known for some time that the dam, which dates to the 19th century, needed repairs. But they were dismayed last fall when state officials announced a planned repair project only six weeks before it began. When the pond was drained in October, residents with older, shallow wells found themselves without water, and their subsequent protests brought the project to a halt.
In the interim, the town has arranged with local banks and well-drilling companies for low-interest loans and top priority to Glasgo Pond residents, said state Rep. Paul Brycki (D-45). “Within a year, [the state] got the permits and we’re ready to get going. So let’s go,” he said.
Senior Project Manager Chris Cullen of Fuss & O’Neill said the dam is fed by a 38-square-mile watershed. The sheer area of the watershed prohibits routine maintenance and sufficient drawdown, he said. “Every time we have a storm down there, it does damage to the dam. If it overtops, the way it is now, it’s going to fail.”
DEEP Senior Field Engineer Ted Rybak said the state has bonding in place for the project, which is expected to cost just over $4 million and take about 400 days from start to finish. D’Amato Construction Company of Bristol was the low bidder, and while the contract is not yet finalized, Rybak said he expects to open the gates and begin draining the pond in the second week of September.
After the pond is drained, the existing dam will be reinforced with concrete and new gates will be installed, which will allow for faster drawdown in the future, Rybek said. There will still be water in the upper part of the lake in the Doaneville area of town, and fish would move to waters downstream, he said.
The armoring will consist of articulated concrete bound together with steel cables, said Cullen, and the dam will still be faced with stone and topped with soil and grass. If the dam overtops in the future, he said, “you’d lose the grass, but you wouldn’t lose the dam.” The dam would be designed to handle a rainstorm with as much as 13 to 14 inches of water in 24 hours, “but we’ll probably never see this.”
Randy Bronson was among the residents whose well went dry last fall and who took advantage of the low-interest loan to have a new well drilled on his lakefront property. He said he and his wife, Sandy, are prepared for the drawdown, and hope to take the opportunity to clean up their section of waterfront.