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.