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Lake O' the Pines repairs affect Marshall water supply

April 20, 2017 at 4:32 p.m.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work to remove as much aquatic wildlife as possible from the Lake O The Pines stilling basin after a cofferdam was built for crews to perform inspections and routine maintenance on the dam outlet works on Wednesday April 12, 2017. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

The city of Marshall said it is working overtime to maintain a clean water supply to the city amidst repair work to the dam at Lake O' the Pines.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers recently began spearheading an effort to look for and repair damage to the dam and spillway, which is affecting quality of the water supply for Marshall, Public Services Director J.C. Hughes said.

"Because there is no water flow being released from the lake; our raw water intake is located further downstream," he said Thursday in a release. "As a result of no flow being added to Big Cypress, the only real flow we are receiving is from Little Cypress, which does not have nearly the quality of water released from Lake O' the Pines."

Hughes said utilities personnel are working overlapping shifts due to the water quality requiring two operators much of the time.

"Normally only one operator is needed," he said. "The water is very muddy and the turbidity - the cloudiness and haziness of the water - is caused by a very high number of individual particles or dissolved solids in the water, which gives it the muddy look.

"The high level of solids in the muddy water makes it extremely hard to produce the clear water you are used to seeing," he said.

Hughes said it could be between 10-14 days before the normal water flow is restored.

"Our treatment personnel are keeping up with the challenge of treating the very muddy water," he said.

Although the spillway is drained to inspect the lake's dam about once every 10 years, flooding during the past year and high-water flow moved up the process, said Keith Cook, natural resource manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam last was inspected in 2011.

A cofferdam made of red clay was built so crews could inspect and make any repairs on the dam, Cook said. A cofferdam is a watertight enclosure pumped dry to permit construction work below the waterline, as when a bridge is built or a ship is repaired.

For information, contact the Water Treatment Division office for Nancy Pasel at (903) 935-4492 or Hughes at (903) 935-4489.



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