Brookfield: Norwood dam work could resume next month, leaving enough water for summer recreation
Updated 9:47 a.m. May 16, 2019 to include new information about Brookfield's plans.
By CRAIG FREILICH
North Country This Week
NORWOOD – There might be enough of a beach on Norwood Lake this summer for the kids to be able to swim in the annual recreation program on the lake.That’s because Brookfield Renewable, the power company that has been working on the dam at Norwood on and off for years, now has a plan to begin this spring’s work, and it won’t require that the lake be drawn down as much as it had been last fall.
“Brookfield says they will lower the water level only six inches, not three and a half feet as they did last fall,” but it will still be much lower than normal, said Norwood Mayor Tim Levison.
That information came in the form of a letter from Brookfield to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission outlining their plan. Levison says Brookfield is awaiting approval of the plan from the agency.
The low lake level could still constitute “a hazard to boaters not familiar with the lake” who don’t know where things such as submerged logs, sandbars and prominent stumps on the lake bottom are.
“I hope Brookfield will put up signs at the boat launch” to warn boaters of the hazards, Levison said.
With the high water levels along the Raquette River this spring and continued rain, Brookfield has been reluctant to predict when they would lower the lake again and begin their drilling and filling , but they now believe they can start on June 3 “and continue for approximately 9 weeks,” the letter forwarded by Brookfield to Levison said.
“That will take us into early August,” Levison said.
“It should be noted the dates included herein are merely estimates and do not incorporate contingency time for weather, increased flows or mechanical failures, which if experienced, will likely extend the project duration” the letter said.
Brookfield began what they thought would be quick work to seal some minor leaks in 2017, but the work required is more extensive than they first thought, extending now into the summer of 2019.
With the Raquette levels threatening flooding along its course recently, there was speculation that the dam work would be delayed further, cancelling out the parts of the summer program on the lake.
Levison was encouraged to hear that “they think they can work out a beach for the kids,” he said.