Sunday, February 29, 2004

Second round of study approved for Pye Lake flood control


Fayetteville officials will continue to study the value of repairing the dam on privately owned Lake Pye to assist with flood control in the area.

The city has already taken action to lower the lake level by four feet to limit the chances of problems with the dam, which needs significant repair according to the state’s Safe Dams program. Homes downstream of the lake have experienced flooding difficulty, most recently during last spring’s heavy rainstorm that caused flooding in other areas of Fayetteville.

After the Pye Lake study is complete, the city must decide whether it wants to foot the bill to repair the dam so the lake can be used for flood control measures, said City Engineer Don Easterbrook.

A second phase of the study was approved by the Fayetteville City Council at its regular meeting last week. The work involves a survey of the ground underneath the lake to determine how much water it could potentially hold depending on the level the lake is kept at, Easterbrook explained.

The city is also considering making stormwater improvements downstream in connection with potential repairs to the lake’s dam, Easterbrook said.

That information will be fed into a computer model to determine what the city needs to do with the lake, Easterbrook said.

“We don’t want to drain the lake,” Easterbrook said. “... But if it works out we have to drain the lake to make this work, that’s what we’ll have to do.”

The city plans to have its repair recommendations ready by the end of April for presentations to the Safe Dams group, which is requiring the dam to be restored to a Category I status.

“We’ll let them know exactly what we plan to do,” Easterbrook said.

Repairing the dam could take upwards of $100,000.

“We are not planning to purchase the property at this point,” Easterbrook added.

To temporarily lower the level of the lake, the city used two temporary siphons as a short-term fix. Those have now been removed in favor of a single 10-inch temporary siphon installed into the dam wall, Easterbrook said.

“It’s doing what we wanted it to do,” Easterbrook said of the lake.

Since the siphons have lowered the lake’s level, its emergency spillway has not been activated, Easterbrook noted.

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