. . . of the Tri-town Committee
Note: The most complete and curent informaion about the Tri-Town Committee and the dam can now be found at lakefairleedam.info.
The Committee is discussing is the deteriorating condition of the dam that maintains the water level of Lake Fairlee. This dam is two centuries old, and was most recently rebuilt over 70 years ago. The State performed a routine inspection of the dam in 2009 and found its condition to be “fair.” Besides offering a list of things to monitor, their report suggested that “plans for repairs and/or replacement of the concrete should be implemented.”
The dam is privately owned, and the owner is responsible for its maintenance and repair. Despite good intentions, the owner does not have the means to afford significant repair.
Over the past few years the lake level has gradually declined. This year it reached the level of the main spillway only following heavy rains. Lake users have observed this trend with growing alarm, concluding that it may be due to increased leakage through the dam. The Lake Fairlee Association invited a dam engineer to speak at a meeting of concerned citizens. The Aloha Foundation, which operates three of the summer camps on the lake, inquired about the cost of a formal inspection.
In early 2012 the Selectboards of the three towns, Fairlee, Thetford, and West Fairlee, came together to discuss issued of common interest relating to Lake Fairlee, in particular the dam. An expert from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns was invited to a second meeting to offer advice on what structures might be appropriate for ongoing cooperation among the towns. For the time being an ad-hoc committee was agreed upon, with no real power of its own to make decisions (or levy taxes), but which would make recommendations to the Selectboards of the three towns for joint actions relating to the lake.
The committee encouraged the hiring of Gomez and Sullivan, an engineering company with appropriate experience, to inspect the dam and return a report detailing its condition and making recommendations for further action. Permission was obtained from the owner to conduct this inspection. Funding was obtained from the Aloha Foundation and the Lake Fairlee Association to cover the cost. On September 25th an engineer from G&S met with committee members and a representative of the dam owner and performed the inspection. In late October the report was issued.
Read about their report HERE.