By Leslie H. Dixon
CASCO — Bids are out on the Pleasant Lake Dam repair project.
Voters in Casco and Otisfield are expected to vote on articles at their respective Wednesday, June 15 and Saturday, June 25 annual town meetings to approve spending what is currently estimated between $400,000 and $550,000 to repair the Pleasant Lake dam in Casco.
Each town would be responsible for half the costs of the shared project, but the exact number will not be known until bids are opened on Monday, May 16, and one is accepted.
Bids are due at the Casco Town Office by 4:30 p.m. on May 16.
If approved by a majority of voters in each town, the money will address the final design and engineering costs. Construction is planned for this fall.
Prospective bidders from half a dozen companies met with Casco Town Manager Dave Morton, and Casco selectmen Mary-Vienessa Fernandes, Holly Hancock and Tom Peaslee, plus Otisfield Selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson, project Engineer Myron Petrosky of MBP Consulting in Portland and Ross Cudlitz, an engineer who works with the county soil and water conservation services and will be the representative on site for the towns during the construction.
Petrosky authored a report on the dam’s condition for the two boards in 2014 and said the overall condition of the dam is poor and almost every component of the dam is leaking.
Among the problems the winning contractor will have to face in the work is to install a sluice to ensure the thousands of fish in the state hatchery downstream of the dam have water to stay alive during construction, and the potential noise from the construction to the guests of the adjacent Pleasant Lake House.
The dam is on Mill Brook, behind the Hancock Lumber office on Route 121. It regulates the water level of the 3.8-mile-long Pleasant Lake, which lies in Casco and Otisfield. There are numerous homes and cottages around the lake, as well as the Seeds of Peace International Camp on the western shore and Camp Arcadia for Girls on the eastern shore, both in Otisfield.
The dam has been jointly owned, operated and maintained by Casco and Otisfield since 1994. It previously was owned by Hancock Lumber Co.
According to the Maine Dams Inventory, the 110-foot-long, 12-foot-high dam was built in 1850, repaired in 1980 and has low-hazard classification, meaning there is nothing significant downstream that would be affected by a dam breach.