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By Lisa Loomis
The state-mandated restoration of the wetlands downstream of the Waitsfield town pond has been completed and water levels in the pond are being lowered to reduce pressure on the 30-year-old dam at the north end of the pond.
Kingsbury Construction completed the wetlands restoration work this week after receiving the contract from the town on April 22. The contract was for $4,695.
The restoration work came after the town attempted to lower the water levels in the pond when the pond impoundment collapsed over the outlet pipe that drains into the lower pond area. That work was done without a state permit to work in the wetland and garnered the town an Agency of Natural Resources Enforcement Order.
LOWER THE WATER LEVEL
The town hired an engineer, per state order, and came up with a plan to remediate the work and lower the water level in the pond. The dam at the north end of the pond is a 30-year-old Soil Conservation Service standard design, built with corrugated metal pipes which have since been discovered to have failed.
As the water levels in the pond and the lower pond have been reduced, workers have been able to assess the damage to the corrugated pipe that runs from the overflow standpipe, through the dam and lets water flow into the lower pond. There is a breach in that pipe which has allowed water to erode the soil above it, creating a sinkhole at the north end of the pond.
On May 12, the town select board will receive a report from the engineering firm it hired after the state order. That report will recommend the next steps for the town to take. According to Valerie Capels, Waitsfield town administrator, those next steps may include having a dam reconstruction plan engineered, or having a pond deconstruction plan created so that the pond would be removed and the area restored to a wetland and stormwater runoff catch basin.