CASCO — Work to replace the Pleasant Lake dam is almost completed, according to Otisfield Selectmen Hal Ferguson.
The dam was in jeopardy of failing and is being replaced using $500,000 that was approved by voters in Otisfield and Casco, who jointly own the dam on Route 121 in Casco.
“The dam itself will be finished in a week or two,” Ferguson told the Advertiser Democrat late last week.
Equipment including cranes and cement trucks were on site last week pouring the last section of the dam that is located between the Hancock Lumber office building parking lot and the Pleasant Lake House Bed and Breakfast.
In 2014, Casco and Otisfield selectmen received a report from the Maine Emergency Management Agency about leakage and structural deterioration at the spillway dam. The towns face significant fines from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection if the dam fails. Town officials, along with members of the Pleasant Lake and Parker Pond Association, began meeting to develop a strategy to repair the dam.
In June, selectmen in Casco and Otisfield approved a $421,639 bid by T-Buck Construction for dam repair work. Voters in Otisfield and Casco approved bonding $250,000 from each of their towns.
While the dam is almost complete, work is continuing to put an extended pipe across Route 121 into the lake to provide Maine Inland Fishers and Wildlife’s passageway for the fish.
Currently temporary piping is in place after water above the dam was emptied to create a coffer dam.
The problem now is to remove tons of sand and silt that have built up above the dam and would threaten the stability of the dam again once the water is released, Ferguson said. The towns are waiting for a permit from the Department of Environmental protection to begin that removal work.
Ross A. Cudlitz, the project engineer for Engineering Assistance & Design Inc. in Yarmouth has been overseeing the project for Casco and Otisfield, along with Myron Pertrovsky, design engineer of MBP Consulting.
The start of the dam replacement project was delayed this fall when the state permit failed to be issued in a timely manner.
During excavation, the front of the dam was cut down so the old dam could be removed and the new one built. It was excavated to within a few feet to the bedrock.
The 1,332 acre Pleasant Lake is 4 miles long and a mile wide, with a maximum depth of 62 feet and an “excellent” water quality rating as determined by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The lake hosts numerous year round and seasonal homes, as well as the internationally known “Seeds of Peace” camp and other childrens’ camps.