Lake Isabella Property Owners Association

Proposed Dam Repair Article from the Fall 2013 Newsletter

Late last year when we started our drawdown, the bolt that holds the connecting rod to the gate stem looked to be somewhat bent and twisted. The bolt is made from brass and designed to be a “break-away “ joint if there were ever any problems with the gate or stem. Since it looked twisted, we sent a remote camera down to inspect the joint and it does look a bit off from previous photos. Additionally, the face of the weir, the concrete wall, had minor seepage at the concrete joints from when it was originally poured. This spring, I completed and have an approved DEQ Dam Safety permit to address not only these two items, but also the railing, an expansion joint, and where concrete is deteriorating inside the spillway. Since this is more in the routine and update maintenance category specifically for the dam, I notified the drain commissioner because 2013 is an official inspection year by the State Of Michigan Dam Safety Unit. All dams across the state are officially inspected every three years. 

Since we already had an approved permit, it was suggested that we complete all repairs to the dam with a revised permit to include downstream monitoring, a silt trap, shoreline stabilization below the spillway that has washed away and caved in, and the repair the “toe drains” that protect the dam from water washing under it. Repairs this extensive have never been made to the structure that created Lake Isabella, an update after the first 40 years looks to be in order. By court order, the drain commissioner was given the authority to make repairs as deemed necessary for the life of the dam through a special assessment district designed specifically for our dam. That assessment district will be engaged to complete these repairs. The final costs aren’t known yet as the bid process is just underway. When the work is complete, I’ll know how much will be distributed across each lot. After 40 years, it’s time. I’ll be posting updates to our website as we get them once the work starts.