Officials to meet with engineers Thursday for update on Lake Manatee Dam

jdeleon@bradenton.comFebruary 25, 2014 

Officials are continuing to slowly lower water levels at the Lake Manatee dam as engineers investigate the integrity of the walls and the clay core of the dam, which they warned could be compromised by heavy rains. Shown is an access road which goes over the spillway. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald

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MANATEE -- Manatee County officials will meet Thursday with engineers to discuss the findings of their investigation into erosion at the Lake Manatee Dam.

Officials revealed Feb. 14 engineers had found areas of erosion underwater on the downstream side of the dam. The concern was any significant rainfall could potentially compromise it.

Rain is forecast in an approaching front, but the National Weather Service expects just one-quarter to one-third of an inch Wednesday.

Engineers have been taking core samples to identify any critical areas in need of repair.

As a precaution, the water level at Lake Manatee was dropped to 38 feet deep from 40 feet.

"We will know more on Thursday when we meet with the engineers," said Bruce MacLeod, water treatment plant superintendent.

Officials have been in con

tact with the National Weather Service daily to get forecasts.

"I spoke to Ruskin today and they are expecting about half an inch," MacLeod said. "We have a plan in place to take the emergency spillway."

The highest chance for rain is Wednesday at 70 percent in the evening, according to NWS forecaster John McMichael.

Temperatures are expected to begin cooling Thursday with rain chances at 60 percent. By Thursday evening, rain chances drop to 30 percent, with temperatures dropping into the upper 40s.

On Friday, the Weather Service predicts partly cloudy skies with high temperatures in the mid-70s and a 20 percent chance of rain.

Some areas could see more rain than others, according to McMichael.

Officials anticipate repairs to the dam will be completed before the rainy season starts. Repairs are also expected to extend the life of the dam another 50 years.

Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 041-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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