Selectman: Plan to Build New Lake Beseck Dam a "Game Changer"

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has decided to replace the lake's current dam, which was last rebuilt nearly 75 years ago.


The state has begun the process of drawing down Lake Beseck, an annual ritual designed to protect the lake from an overabundance of weeds.

But after years of back and forth discussions between state and town officials, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has decided to move ahead with a much larger job — building a new dam.

"We've been notified about every year for the last four or five years that they've been working on restoring, renovating, repairing the dam but apparently the DEEP has concluded that repairing the dam is not in our best interest, not in their best interest so they're going to build a new dam," Middlefield First Selectman Jon Brayshaw said at the Oct. 16 Board of Selectmen meeting.

The state hopes to hold a meeting as early as mid-November to present a preliminary plan to town officials and residents, Brayshaw said.

According to Brayshaw, construction of a new dam would force the state to lower the lake beyond the six foot draw down for up to a year or more. (This year the lake is being lowered three feet.)

He said the project would give the town an opportunity to dredge the lake to remove years worth of sediment which has settled in some areas of the lake, in part, due to the gentrification of the lake community.

"It's a game changer," Brayshaw said.

Although the state owns the lake and is expected to pay for the new dam, the DEEP has recommended that the town hire a consulting engineer, the cost of which is unknown at this point.

The new dam would include a wet hydrant that would be used by firefighters to pull water from the lake. Brayshaw said the hydrant will prevent firefighters from having to enter the water to fill a tanker truck.

Next week, a committee formed to work on issues regarding the quality of the lake will meet with DEEP officials to discuss progress on a number of issues. The meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center.

The new dam is expected to be discussed.

"To the lake environment, I don't think anything could be any better. We fell into it," said Brayshaw.

Jay Berardino October 18, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Is there a way to plan for a future hydroelectric generation component?
Annette Woodcock October 18, 2012 at 01:22 PM
My biggest concern with this is the cost to residents. Who will be paying for the dredging. Some years back it was decided to put in city sewer lines to help prevent polution in the lake. That cost me $10,000.00 which I am still paying off. So this State owned lake could be used by everyone and anyone with their boat loads of people coming and using the lake. Poluting it with their big gas engines and throwing their garbage overboard. I live near the dam, and the things I find washed up are disgusting to say the least. If this is a state owned lake, why is the state not responsible for keeping it clean.
Scott Wheeler October 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM
This could be awesome if done right. Dredging will hopefully decrease the temp of the water to help control the blooms. Very cool.
Concerned October 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM
The state should pay the cost of dredging the lake - it is their lake, and they need to take responsibility for it. If they hadn't neglected the dam for so many years, they probably would not need to replace it. As for the sewer costs and the pollution, residents did cause that, many of the homes at lake Beseck were summer cottages and did not have septic systems designed to function in the winter. So there were many septic failures due to the ledge in the area, I know of several cases where in updating septic systems caused nearby wells to be contaminated. This was not a new problem, but pointed out to our Town's leaders going back to the 1960's, when then public health director, Dr. Harold Smith pointed this out. The town was under federal orders to clean up the lake, and we are lucky that Chrlie Augur was able to get those low cost loans to help with the installation. Middlefield was one of the first rural communites to get USDA funding for this project.
Robert Glassman October 22, 2012 at 06:23 PM
It could help, but as I have seen before, like what happened at Silver lake, all the quality fish disappear


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