Way down and going lower – Using a specially-engineered siphon, the Grandview Lake Company is lowering the water level ahead of expected dam construction this fall.
Both Jasper and Pickens County are expected to make proposals to the Grandview Lake Company offering some type of assistance on their dam renovation in exchange for raw water deals.
With an almost $1.5 million price tag to bring the dam up to state requirements for hurricanes and floods, the lake company is seeking to partner with a local government to sell water.
Previously, the 235 lake stockholders (members who have access rights) agreed to a tentative deal with the county where they would allow a water treatment plant be installed somewhere around the lake and they would sell raw water at a set price to supply county customers.
The revenue generated from water would repay the loan for repair work and provide future funds for upkeep of the lake facilities.
However, that deal has never been finalized and recently the city of Jasper entered the picture, also wanting to present a proposal, which had not been received as of press time. Mayor John Weaver discussed this at a recent Rotary meeting, see story on page 2A.
A final deal with either the city or county will have to be approved by the lake stock holders.
Grandview Lake Company President Pete Wilcox said they have received their construction permits and are set to begin work as soon as the financing is lined up and the lake lowered enough to meet construction requirements.
The permits require the lake company to begin work by November 1, 2016 and have it completed by December 31, 2017.
Wilcox estimated that once the financing is set, they will have no trouble meeting the timelines.
The lake company has been lowering the lake to an agreed upon level for construction, which itself is a time-consuming process. At work is a siphon with no pumps that simply uses the old-fashioned technology, though the metal siphon pipe came with a price tag of more than $40,000 and is custom-engineered and installed for the particular site. In this case the siphon runs from the lake with two submerged uptakes into the large pipe and over the spillway then down the outflow creek to work out the dynamics to perpetually draw the water.
Wilcox said several people had warned that the siphon would never work, but looking at the lowering lake, it obviously is. The lake has thus far been dropped about 12 feet and must be lowered a total of 30 feet before construction can start.
What Grandview is ultimately working for is a state required different slope and much thicker dam. The dam must be brought to a 3 by 1 slope and this means that the dam will need to be extended another 50 feet, requiring 40,000 cubic feet of additional earth (For comparison a large dump truck can deliver 30 cubic feet in one trip).
The whole issue arose over a wet patch on the lower flanks of the dam that some felt was a spring or water leaking from the spillway. But the state said the dam needed to be brought up to “hurricane standards” while that one area was repaired.
“The dam is stable as can be, it’s just the hurricane requirements,” said Wilcox.
Assessments of a water resource have both the city and county interested with a potential 300,000 gallons of useable water per day.
Wilcox said they have had engineers determine that the lake spillway has 325,000 gallons of excess water flow over it everyday. Wilcox said this is considered “safe water,”- extra flow that wouldn’t affect the stream, the lake level or anybody’s use if removed. “This is water that nobody would notice if it were gone,” he said.
Wilcox said anyone who has fears that once in the hands of a government, they could drain the lake down for water, should consider that the state has requirements on the flow that must go downstream and even a local government couldn’t make an arbitrary decision to open it up further.
“You can’t just open and close the valve to turn the water loose whenever you want and by the same token, we can’t stop it up,” he said.