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Dam Repairs Completed

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Swains Lake dam was on the receiving end of some badly needed repairs last fall. New concrete was added to the spillway and upper vertical walls. This required an early drawdown of the lake, according to Barrington Road Agent Marc Moreau, who said “mother nature took care of most of it on her own.” The water level was already so low due to the drought, that the town was able to open the dam a bit later than first anticipated. Work was completed in the desired amount of time and the dam is in shape for the spring.

Further maintenance of the dam will be an ongoing matter over the next several years Mr. Moreau explained. He said the town intends to determine a timeline of when any further patchwork needs to be completed. Areas that may need this are the lower vertical walls which are submerged most of the time. If this is determined to be necessary, it would require a more drastic drawdown at that time. However, as of now, there is no time frame on any plans for that. Also on the drawing board for the future is the engineering and installation of a “rip rap” filter on the lake side of the dam. This will help control wind-driven erosion that isn’t always noticed but is always occurring. There are also future plans to re-shingle one side of the gate house that is deteriorating.

Mr. Moreau also stated that “those in charge of the dam are currently in the final stages of drafting a formal drawdown plan to help guide the town through a more effective process, which will hopefully lead to less wind and ice damage to the dam in the spring.” This may require the dam being closed back up later than it typically has been. Currently, a lot of wear and tear on the dam comes from ice chunks in the spring.

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