Subject: Manchaug and Whitin Reservoir WaterLevels and Acts of Vandalism at Manchaug

Thursday night’s sunset shows the beauty of Manchaug Pond.

Concerning our lower than usual waterlevel on Manchaug Pond…The following is a letter dated April 23, 2008 which our MPA President received on Friday on your behalf from the Mumford River Reservoir Company and The Manchaug Reservoir Corporation the dam owner and operator:

Subject: Manchaug and Whitin Reservoir WaterLevels and Acts of Vandalism at Manchaug

Dear Mr. Schmidt:

The purpose of this letter is to update our neighbors on changes relating to water level management at Manchaug Pond and Whitin Reservoirs this spring as well as recent acts of vandalism at the manchaug Dam.

Hydro Projects North, has owned the controlling interests in the reservoir corporations which operate the dams on Manchaug Pond and Whitin Reservoirs for over twenty years. During this time, the reservoir corporations have strive to balance recreational interests, aquatic needs, and minimum water
flow needs. However, the number one priority has been, and continues to
be, the safe operation of the dams in compliance with applicable laws,
rules and regulations.

Our neighbors, who live around and enjoy the two ponds, have likely noticed that the water levels are not as high as they have been typically in the past at this time of year. This is because both dames are presentlybeign operated a lower level upon
the recommendations of the professional engineering firm that recently
completed the annual inspections of the two dams. These recommendations
were driven not by any change in condition of the dams, but rather by
guidance from the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety that took effect
for the dams this year, requiring safe operation of the dams to
accommodate possible high rainfall events. It is very important to note
that this does not mean the dams are unsafe or are any less safe than
they have been in the past. We are told the guidance and compliance
requirements reflect the Office of Dam Safety’s latest thinking on dam

Given that our number one priority is safe operation of
the dams in accordance with applicable law, we have conformed to the
recommendations of the engineers. We also have requested a meeting with
the Office of Dam Safety to discuss the inspection results and our
engineer’s recommendations, and in that meeting we hope to determine if
a safe alternate course of action is available to us. This meeting is
tentatively scheduled for Monday, May 5.

We also feel it is very important to make all of our neighbors aware of recent vandalism at the Manchaug dam. On two occasions within the last month, unauthorized person(s) entered the fenced and locked area on the Manchaug
Dam, cut off the locks, and forced shut the low level outlet gate for
the Dam, presumably in an attempt to raise the water level in the Manchaug
Pond Reservoir to the prior year’s springtime water level. This
trespass and vandalism is a violation of the law, and as such we have
filed reports with the Town of Sutton Police Department and the Office
of Dam Safety. These acts of vandalism jeopardize the safe operation of
the dam. We feel that it is important to emphasize that these acts will
not achieve their presumed objective or raising the overall reservoir
water levels and will potentially interfere with the recreational use
of Manchaug Pond for the following reasons:

* Closing the low level outlet gate will not raise the water level in Manchaug Pond beyond its current levels. At the times of both acts of trespass, the water level in the Pond was at or just above the spillway elevation, thus closing the outlet gate only increased the water flowing over the spillway. The water level may only be raised above the spillway height by installation of flashboards. Following our engineer’s recommendation, the flashboards have not and will not be installed until safe operation of the dams has been discussed with the Office of Dam Safety. Thus, the trespasser(s) risked damaging the outlet gate, jeopardized safe operation of the dam and ultimately had no impact on the overall water levels.

* If the outlet gate is damaged due to unauthorized operation, it would likely be very costly to repair and require the water levels to be immediately lowered significantly below what they are now in accordance with ODS procedures.

* Lastly, untrained operation of the dam is very unsafe. Any untrained persons who take it upon themselves to trespass and operate the dam risk bodily injury or death, due to hydraulic forces present in the dam.

If you have any questions about the water levels or the operation of the dams, we kindly ask that you direct any inquiries to our local attorney… Mr. Cooper has established lines of communication with the Presidents of both Reservoir Associations and we urge you to wrk through those organiations, as that will result in the fastest and most efficient attention to your concerns.

If you have any information regarding the trespass and vandalism of the Manchuag Dam, please call the Town of Sutton Police Department at (508) 865-4449.

We take great pride in our stewardship of the dams and the reservoirs over the past twenty years as well as our partnership with the towns of Douglas and Sutton. While we recognize that lower water levels may be a cause of concern for some, please remember that safe operation of the dams in compliance with applicable law is the ultimate priority.

We sincerely appreciate the productive and cooperative relationship we have had with our many neighbors, and we would like to thank everyone in advance for the understanding and cooperation as we determine the safest course of action that yields optimal results for all.

Wendy Porter for the Mumford River Reservoir Company and the Manchaug Reservoir Corporation

Comments 5

  1. So are we to believe that the 08 season on Lake Manchaug will remain at what i see to be at least 5 feet below average?

  2. No. First, we are not to believe that Manchaug will remain at this level and secondly, we are not 5 feet below average.

    It is hoped that the state Office of Dam Safety will look at Interface/Manchaug Pond’s track record of a well-maintained dam and daily monitoring by an experienced staff to allow Interface to bring it up to traditional levels. The May 5th meeting should give us a ruling. (Optimistic I know.)

    As to the level we are at…. Interface has informed us they are keeping it 18 inches below the rule curve established for Manchaug by the Corp of Engineers many years ago. But remembering that the level is usually modified to conduct a drawdown for weed control and is usually seen higher in the spring (about 1-2 feet above the rule curve) with rain and runoff to bring the lake to full by the 15th… and depending where you sit on the lake shore… I figure at my dock we are down almost 3 feet down from our optimum spring high. And again, please remember that is my opinion as this is a personal blog of the MPA secretary not the official website of the dam owner. Whatever the numbers, I will also tell you that the back of our pontoon boat is still on dry land so we are not going anywhere. I hope that helped and thanks for the question!

  3. First off i would like to thank you for your reply đŸ™‚

    Okay so on the meeting to be held on May 5th. Is this open to the public?

    I’ve heard so many story’s regarding the water level in past two weeks. I heard the level of water will only rise 18 inches more for the season. I also heard the people that owned the dam have moved out of state and have left the dam open so no one has to monitor it at the end of the season.

    Now my dock is not even in the water. I am towards the Lake Manchaug campgrounds area, the wall is 4 feet tall and the water is at least 10 feet away. So thats my 5 feet under number. Guess its just where you are on the lake.

    So if all goes as your hoping that the level should be normal by mid May……i hope so!

    If there is anything that the people can do to help out please advise……….and once again thank you….. đŸ™‚

  4. You’re welcome! Corresponding Secretary – that’s me! I am happy to provide the facts as the MPA learns them.

    The May 5th meeting is NOT open to the public- it is a meeting of the dam owner and the state Office for Dam Safety. The owner said they will inform the MPA President of the outcome. (We thought we almost had a seat!)

    There are many rumors going around. The facts are the dam is still up for sale by Guilford of Maine or should I say the parent company Interface Fabrics which are both out of state. Interface continues to show its commitment to the lake community and to public safety keeping our faithful Fuddy on the payroll and monitoring our dam and level seven days a week and keeping the MPA President informed through their Boston attorney.

    If Dam Safety says Guilford can continue as they have for years… and they put the flashboards in, a little rain like we are having now, and run-off from the watershed it would bring us up. If Dam Safety needs time to evaluate things and we have dry weather, evaporation, and need to maintain the flow with Whitin Reservoir for the down stream sewerage treatment plant we could be looking at large beach areas around the lake, a major weed problem and carrying the canoe in.

    The MPA Board of Directors is meeting this week to discuss the whole picture. As the MPA discussed at meetings last year, we have no control or authority in our present position. The property owners on Whitin Reservoir are making considerable headway in positioning themselves for the future and has the full support of the town of Douglas.

    For this round, I do believe Interface will present our position and interests to Dam Safety. I will keep you all informed and advise on the options available to us.

    Also, I might get the tape measure out as I think we have more than 10 feet of beach showing!

    Thanks for your questions and comments.

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