Dam Information

September 2020

Neighboring Lakes Drawing Down

Both Millen and Sand Ponds are doing deep drawdowns, which will raise our lake level. Millen will drop their pond 5 feet, starting September 28. On October 3rd they will fully open their gate. Sand will remove two boards on September 28 and over the following weeks remove more boards. Their dam operators will be in communication with our Dam Commissioners, to monitor the level of Ashuelot. They can slow down the flow, if Ashuelot begins to rise too fast/high. -Peggy Carney



June 2020

Lake Level Low

"I would like to clarify the condition of the dam and it's components. There are 4 components for Lake Ashuelot water impoundment. A dam, gate, and 2 spillways. We discovered last year that the dam was developing sink holes, the face off the dam had most of the supporting rocks falling into the lake. At our annual meeting last year we brought this to the membership and voted to accept repairs to the dam, gate and spillway. During the winter months the dam was completely rebuilt and will last another 50 years. When we closed the gate in February there were no noticeable issues while the lake was filling. During the past few weeks there was concern that the gate was leaking, I want to explain that the gate and dam are 2 seperate components. The dam is safe and secure without issues. The gate did develop leaks at the base, the very lowest board below the water line is rotting and a hole approximately 6-8 inches by 4 inches (height) developed. We have a civil engineer whose background is dams and water impoundment. ( NHDAMS LLC ) Several sandbags were dropped into the area where the bottom leak developed, the idea that water pressure will draw the sandbags into the rotted section and plug the leak. This did slow the leak significantly however; several more 55lb sandbags were dropped into the bottom. It is believed that at this time this problem has been corrected. There is a leak between the upper and lower gate approximately 18 inches wide and less than 1/2 in in height. This is considered a minor leak. The engineer suggests that this outflow is less then than the inflow, based on the size of the lake and hydrology reports. The lake is extremely low. Several other lakes, rivers, and ponds in NH we are in an abnormal drought area, some NH towns have issued water bans. We have not had significant rain since late January, the spring thaw was not what we usually have, there were several smaller thaws during the course of the winter. What have we done to address these issues? During the late fall and winter we have contacted several federal agencies and conservation groups requesting funding or grants. The problem is we are a private dam limited to funding. We are not classified as a high hazard dam which is a requirement for federal funding. Our classification is a significant hazard dam.  The problem with the spillway directly to the left of the dam is a small leak at the base of the spillway on the down stream side, this leak has no effect on the lake level but is fault with Department of Environmental Services and needs to be corrected. Operating the gate has become a safety issue for dam operators, the boards are rotting, the steel structure is rusting, Opening and closing the gate has become a 2 to 3 hour task. It is no longer a serviceable device. We do not how much damage is below the water line. We can replace the gate with a state of the art manufactured aluminum gate that will last another 50 years. The spillway needs to be completely exposed to its base and a cement barrier constructed along the entire length of the spillway. In the past we were able to make minor repairs as needed but conditions are beyond our skills, this is not considering environmental regulations that have been put into palce the past few years. We did last year secure services from a professional civil engineer that has experience and who works closely with DES. At this time we are short approximately $7,000 to $10,000 to have work done on the gate estimated cost $54,000 to replace the gate and repair the spillway total cost estimated $94,000. It would be less expensive to have this work completed at a one time project rather than 2 seperate projects. Funding is a problem and our priority is to complete the gate replacement. We did contact NHDRA and NH Municipal Association RE: accepting donations NH law requires the district voting members to vote to accept donations. We are looking into bonding, bank loans or loans from private sources.  We are confident we can fund construction and competition of the gate this fall and winter, we are looking into a way to raise $94,000. We realize this is more than has been spent on dam maintenance however; to maintain the lake it needs to be done. In the future the dam will require little or no annual maintenance other then raising and lowering the gate." - Joe Belcastro

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