Alamo Lake to be flushed Next Week

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Alamo Lake to be flushed Next Week

Postby WB Staff » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:27 am

Alamo Lake to be flushed Next Week.jpg

Colonel Kirk E. Gibbs of the Army Corps of Engineers was in Parker, AZ on Monday to address the La Paz County Board of Supervisors regarding an upcoming release of water from Alamo Lake which will increase flow in the Bill Williams River downstream.

The release is necessary for maintenance of the dam, according to Gibbs, who is the Commander and District Engineer for the Los Angeles District of the Corps, responsible for 679 personnel and a $593 million annual budget.

“We’re so proud to be here,” Gibbs said as he addressed the Supervisors, making apologies for what he said was a failure to communicate as effectively as they would have wanted. He said that he wanted to listen to any concerns the Board had and build trust and communication on this and future projects affecting the local area.

He handed the presentation over to David Van Dorpe, the Deputy Engineer for the District, who went over some of the details about the upcoming release. They were joined on the phone by others in the Corp District’s team.

Alamo Dam is a remote, earth-filled, 275-foot dam which was completed in 1968, primarily to provide flood control of the Bill Williams River, which created Alamo Lake behind it in the process. It now also permits the habitat of the Bill Williams Natural Wildlife Refuge, which ends where the river flows into the Colorado River at Lake Havasu.

The upper conduit of the dam has not been inspected since 1990, according to Van Dorpe, and cannot be inspected at the current high level of the lake. The funding is available to do it now, which means flushing some of the water to reduce the elevation of the lake by around 10 feet so the inspections and possible maintenance can be carried out. In addition, sediment has built up on the ‘sill’ of the dam, which needs to be removed by flushing to expose the sill for inspection and remove hydrogen sulfide, which has a corrosive effect.

“In 1990 the inspection led to about a million dollars of repairs,” Van Dorpe told the Board, “and we’re anticipating having to do some repairs this time too, but that’s just an unknown at this point.”

The Corps maintenance divers cannot safely dive to a working depth any greater than around 110 feet, Gibbs said, which is another reason the lake elevation level must be lowered. As he was declining to get “too technical” about why a deeper dive cannot happen, Supervisor D.L. Wilson interjected to say that he is a certified diver and Gibbs then went into more detail.

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