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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Suspected vandilism causes malfuction of main control valve

The lake level is currently down approximately 7" from the usual summer level due to a valve malfuction.

During recent heavy rains in June the main valve was opened for flooding control.  A few days later when it was time to close it would not operate. Two large pieces of concrete were stuck in the valve at the dam, and the valve would not close. These pieces of concrete were originally along the shore but had been carried out on the pier and dropped into the water in front of the valve.  When the valve was opened they were drawn into the valve causing the malfunction.  It is unclear if this was done purposely or simply for breaking ice in the winter for sport.

ALMA officers inspected the valve with our underwater camera and determined the problem, but were unable to clear the concrete pieces from the opening.  We knew we would need divers and thought that the Tolland County Dive team might be able to assist.

For two evenings ALMA officers and the dive team attempted to free the blockage using prybars, poles, pneumatic air hammers, and finally chains and a come-a-Long.

Thanks to the valiant and ingenious efforts of the Tolland County Dive team working with members of ALMA, the valve is now closed. The lake level should rise with additional rain which is forecast over the next week.

Vandilism is a large expense and use of time for ALPOA and ALMA.  Over the past winter vandilism cost was over $600 in materials and equipment cost and 5 days of volunteer manhours.  The valve malfuction could have easily exceeded $10,000 in cost to hire a commercial dive company to correct the problem.

Residents and members should watch for activity that could have the potential of causing damage to the lake facilities and immediately call security or a board member or the State Police if appropriate. 

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