Commissioners approve $14 million fix for Lake Manatee dam

Posted by SARA KENNEDY on April 3, 2014 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission Thursday ratified a $14 million contract for an emergency fix to the Lake Manatee dam.

Officials are recommending repairs to east Manatee Dam due to "potentially serious conditions" there, according to a county report. Tests conducted by engineers and consultants found "voids beneath the downstream spillway structure resulting from piping effects causing soil erosion," the report said.

Test samples identified loose material in areas within the dam's core and beneath the layer where the clay core is supposed to key-in to the naturally-occurring clay, the report said.

The county's engineering specialist, AMEC Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., is recommending stabilization work be done by Hayward Baker Inc., of Tampa.

The proposal has been found to be acceptable by county officials.

"The work will re-establish the tie-in between existing concrete structures and steel sheet pile cut-off with the clay core and will re-establish the core key-in to the natural lay layer, along about 3,100 feet of the dam," the report said.

The contract price for work on the dam came to $14,091,190.

The first phase would be substantially complete by June 1; the second would be completed by Oct. 31, according to the report.

County officials announced in February that they suspected erosion had adversely affected the integrity of the dam located in East Manatee, and that a catastrophic failure was possible in case of heavy rains. To relieve pressure on the dam, officials lowered the level of Lake Manatee.

The dam is part of the Manatee County utility system, which provides drinking water for Manatee and some Sarasota County residents. Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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