Bid to repair leakage under Seabright Dam discussed

By Susan Mustapich | Sep 12, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich A single bid was received by the town of Camden for the repair of leakage beneath the Seabright Dam on the Megunticook River.

CAMDEN — Repairing leakage beneath the Seabright Dam will be discussed again at an upcoming Select Board meeting, after board members tabled a vote on a bid for the repair Sept. 5.

The dam contains a decommissioned powerhouse that used to produce electrical power. Underneath the powerhouse are flat, table-sized rocks, and water leaks through the cracks between the rocks, according to Camden Wastewater Superintendent David Bolstridge.

Following near-drought conditions in 2015 and 2016, the leak under Seabright Dam became a focus of concern among property owners along the Megunticook River. Lower water levels in the river and Lake Megunticook stranded docks and floats, created new hazards for boaters, and left some property owners with a view of mudflats instead of water.

In Dec. 2016, a petition signed by 130 Camden residents requesting repair of the dam was presented to the Select Board by a group called Neighbors of the Megunticook Waterfront. At that time, the Select Board agreed that the repair, then estimated at around $25,000, should be added to the town's budget.

This summer, the town of Camden put the work out to bid, and recently received a single bid from Waterworks Diving Service, which lays out  a two-step process for the repair. The bid was presented to the Camden Select Board Sept. 5 by Assistant Wastewater Department Superintendent Sheldon Main. The first step is a video inspection, priced at $2,475, to determine the extent of the leakage and the repairs needed. Step two is the repair of the leak, estimated to cost $13,000.

On Sept. 5, Select Board chairman John French asked if the option of draining the Megunticook River above the Seabright Dam had been considered, in order to better see the leakage problem under the dam and to make the repair. He said he understood owners of riverfront property, would not be happy with this, but favored this approach, as it offered a better chance of permanently fixing the leak.

The Select Board agreed to table the vote on the bid until information about the option of viewing and making repairs in a dry riverbed was received.

Bolstridge said Sept. 12 that he will attend the next Select Board meeting, scheduled for the 19th, to discuss all of the options for repairing the leak under the dam.

Select Board meetings take place in the Washington Street Conference Room, and begin at 6:30 p.m. The agenda is usually posted online the Friday before the meeting at

Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at

Comments (3)
Posted by: Charles E. St. Clair | Sep 13, 2017 09:39

If I were a riparian on the Megunticook River, I wouldn't have a problem with draining the river; knowing the reason for doing so, and the fact that it would only be temporary.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Sep 12, 2017 16:15

Draining is a good logical option to once and for all find the leak or several leaks and fix with perhaps new piping's.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 12, 2017 12:24

Thoughtfully looking at all options for doing it once and doing it right. Kudos to the Camden Select Board.

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