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Dam defects cause concern

The Manawa Common Council discussed the status of the dam at its Sept. 27 meeting.

Little Wolf Town Chairman Tom Kolosso and Town Clerk Jackie Beyer attended the meeting.

John Rublein, from Mead & Hunt, presented a report on the Manawa dam. Cost to fix the dam’s defects could run from $25,000 to $100,000, depending on which option is selected.

“It’s an old structure,” Rublein stated. “We don’t have enough data to quantify what the risks are. Dams are living facilities and you can’t predict what will happen with them.”

According to the Mead & Hunt report, there are three areas of the dam that need repair. Rublein said the seepage by the gate is caused by 100-year-old poor quality cement. There is some spillage by the void and on the north end.

“The issue of the seepage is not vital,” he said, noting that some seepage is normal. “But seepage in the structure is creating a dam safety issue.”

“Regardless of what (the council) decides, Little Wolf will need to do something,” Kolosso said. “The pond is filling up, and the water is getting shallower and shallower.”

It was noted that the dam does not generate enough electricity to involve the attention of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“There isn’t evidence that the structure is moving or in distress,” Rublein reported. “But there is evidence of some wear and tear.”

Recent high waters caused some concerns at the dam. Jaeger noted that North American Hydro monitored the water levels and had eight gates opened during the highest flows.

The council noted that the pond is a recreational and cultural resource. Representatives from the town of Little Wolf agreed.

“Either you have a dam or you don’t,” Kolosso added. “It can’t stay in its present condition. We can’t sit here and talk and talk and talk and do nothing.”

City Clerk Cheryl Hass noted that having a lake district would make the area eligible for grants. But not enough signatures were collected in a recent attempt to form a lake district.

Beyer suggested there should be another attempt at forming a lake district. It was noted that Waupaca County needs to be contacted because the lake district would involve the city of Manawa and the town of Little Wolf.

“You got our cooperation – whatever it takes,” Kolosso concluded.

Rublein said the dam repairs would only require about a 2-foot drain down of the pond.

The city of Manawa and the town of Little Wolf agreed that the city’s Department of Public Works should do the necessary repairs of the dam in the amount of $10,000 to $15,000.

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