Divers describe leak below Seabright dam

By Susan Mustapich | Oct 05, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Divers from Waterworks Diving Service investigated the leak beneath the Seabright Dam in Camden Oct. 4.

CAMDEN — Divers investigated a leak in the structure below the Seabright Dam on the Megunticook River Oct. 3.

On Oct. 10, the Select Board will receive a report on how to fix the leak.  On Sept. 19, the board authorized up to $5,000 to be spent on the video investigation and any immediate repairs that could be made by the divers. The board delayed a vote to repair the dam Sept. 5, in order to further review repair options. A decision to authorize the repair is expected Oct. 10.

While knowledge of the leak goes back years, it became a focus for riverfront residents the past two summers because of near-drought conditions. Residents who have seen low water levels in the river and mudflats instead of river views have asked the Select Board to fix the leak under the dam. In Dec. 2016, a petition signed by 130 Camden residents requesting the repair was presented to the board.

The nature and extent of the problem was unknown until divers investigated Oct. 3.

Divers from Waterworks Diving Service found that the leak is located in the seam between a concrete wall and the footer for the wall, according to Wastewater Superintendent Dave Bolstridge.

On Oct. 5, Bolstridge said, "I was very pleased to find out there is a cement wall, and most of it is in very good shape."

In an Oct.. 4 letter, Edward Burns, president of WaterWorks Diving Services, wrote that the area inspected is located below the turbine intakes. Two areas of leakage were located where the dam's head wall meets the concrete sill. A video of the leak shows that it is spread over the seam between the sill and head wall. Burns recommended that an option to stop the leak is to place material into the seam to help slow the leakage, and then to place angle iron against the seam, and drill and anchor it into place. Concrete bags then can be placed over the angle iron.

Burns wrote that the leakage through the seam "has a strong pull," and that once it is sealed, other minor leaks not initially noticed may become stronger.

Waterworks Diving Service submitted the sole bid when the town of Camden requested proposals for assessment and repair of the leak. The proposal submitted priced the underwater assessment at $2,475, and an underwater repair procedure was estimated to cost $13,000.

At June town meeting, voters approved $25,000 for the repair.

The Select Board meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Washington Street Conference Room.

Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at smustapich@villagesoup.com.

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