Expert recommendations expected this week on Lake Manatee Dam fix

skennedy@bradenton.comMarch 3, 2014 

MANATEE -- County officials expect expert recommendations this week on how best to deal with the erosion threatening the stability of the Lake Manatee Dam in East Manatee.

Amy Pilson, public affairs liaison for the Manatee County Utilities Department, said investigations into the best way to deal with the problem are underway.

The county engineer of record is Carollo Engineers Inc. of Sarasota. Its consulting firm is AMEC of Tampa, Pilson said.

The experts will recommend the best repair options based on their analysis, said Pilson. They will likely also recommend a construction company to use, she said.

Once a formal recommen

dation is made, the Manatee County Commission will decide whether to approve a repair contract, Pilson said.

Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, whose district covers parts of East Manatee, said she has not heard any complaints from constituents about the situation.

"I'm kind of surprised, to be honest, but I think the county is trying to stay in touch with the residents close by to keep everybody in the know when we expect to get repairs completed, and so forth," she said. "I myself haven't heard from any residents."

Once repairs are made, the dam should be "as good as new," she said, but she added: "I want those repairs done as soon as possible."

Last month, engineers warned the dam's clay core may have been compromised by erosion. Officials slowly brought lake levels down from 40 feet to 38 feet as a precautionary measure.

Without repairs, a four- or five-day rainfall could compromise the dam, experts have said.

The dam supplies water through a treatment plant at 7914 Waterline Road to the county utility system.

Manatee County's utility system supplies drinking water to residents, and sells Sarasota County more than half its water as well.

The dam, completed in 1967, created the 1,800-acre Lake Manatee reservoir, which stores 7.5 billion gallons of water.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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