The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has extended its deadline for Waupaca county to draw down the Little Hope Millpond.
Due to safety concerns about the dam, the DNR ordered the county on Sept. 4 to drain the millpond by Oct. 1.
In a letter to County Parks Director Roger Holman and to Dayton town Chairman Chris Klein, the DNR affirmed its order.
In extending the deadline an additional two weeks, Michelle Hase, a DNR water management engineer, said, “I do encourage you to begin sooner than later so that the banks have some time to dry out and vegetate, and the risk to the herps (reptiles and amphibians) is lessened.”
Hase said failure to comply with the order could result in citations of up to $1,000 per day or referral to the Justice Department.
“A partial draw down will not be allowed as there isn’t a lot of storage behind the dam and any rain event will raise the water levels and we will be back where we are now,” Hase said. “A common failure is when a dam experiences piping or seepage and a rain event adds pressure and head to the dam and causes this weak area to carry soil and fail. Partial draw downs are also more harmful to the environment as the sediments are more easily stirred up and transported downstream. “
Under the terms of the order, the county now has three options regarding the dam.
The county may transfer to a taxing entity, such as a lake district, which the town board is scheduled to discuss at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 18.
The county could hire an engineering consultant to develop plans to bring the dam into compliance with state regulations.
The county’s final option is to hire a consultant to submit plans to abandon and remove the dam.
The county has until December 2013 to decide on which option they will pursue.