• Last modified 1025 days ago (Sept. 2, 2021)


Dam a 'significant hazard'; repairs likely costly

Staff writer

The county expects a hefty bill to repair late June flood damage to the dam at the county lake, which engineers have termed “a significant hazard.”

How hefty the price will be remains unknown.

Commissioners met Tuesday and reviewed an engineer’s inspection report from Sustainable Environmental Consultants of Des Moines. It included recommendations for immediate attention and maintenance recommendations.

Park and lake superintendent Isaac Hett said items that needed immediate attention included repair of scarps and gullies to prevent further erosion and slope degradation, repair of an embankment slope diversion berm, and removal of structures in the lake’s auxiliary spillway inlet channel.

Engineers also recommended an emergency action plan be created and submitted to Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources for approval. The report further recommended repair of slides as detailed in a June 28 inspection report from DWR.

SEC’s report said the dam was a significant hazard.

The report said less urgent, but still needed, repairs included work on an embankment upstream slope with signs of slumping and erosion; on a downstream slope and stilling basin area with trees and brush; on a downstream slope seepage area with trees and brush; on a stilling basin pool area and outlet channel with sediment and rock deposits; a submerged principal spillway outlet; on an auxiliary spillway inlet channel with trees, a boat ramp and a graveled parking area; and on other trees, weeds, and grass in the auxiliary spillway area.

DWR’s June inspection said the condition of the dam was not an imminent threat but further deterioration was inevitable. DWR said safety of a roadway atop the dam was a consideration, and the backslope of the dam would be compromised in the event of overtopping.

Commissioners said they wanted the engineering company to talk to them and estimate the cost of needed work.

Commissioners and county clerk Tina Spencer, faced with the amount of work needed, discussed whether grants might pay for the work.

Spencer said the county might want to seek a historic preservation award similar to one the county used to replace courthouse windows. That grant allowed the county to sell tax credits.

She also said an emergency watershed protection grant might be found.

Councilman Kent Becker asked whether the county should hire a proposal writer to help.

The dam was built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration.

Last modified Sept. 2, 2021