Argentine Twp. — After approximately five days of a broken gate letting out water, the Argentine Township dam is closed.
Alex Patsy, programming and development engineer for the Genesee County Road Commission, said Bennett and Lobdell lakes water levels are down about a foot. Each was losing about 4½ inches a day while the gate was open. He doesn’t know how many inches
Hoisington Lake lost.
The issue started late last week, after officials with Parshallville Pond and Lake Shannon opened the dams because of heavy rainfall. The Argentine Township dam was opened to accommodate the water flow, and when the operator went to close it, it wouldn’t go down.
Patsy said it was the eastern gate operator on the primary spillway that broke. The problem was between the door mechanism, which includes an acme nut that was installed in 1929, and the shaft that wouldn’t turn.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, workers with the Genesee County Road Commission and Zito Construction sawed out the nut and used a gradall to pull the operator out. They then used the gradall to apply pressure to a long board of wood, which shut the gate.
Patsy plans to communicate with officials from Lake Shannon and Parshallville Pond about refilling the lakes.
Meanwhile, Argentine Township Supervisor Brian Saad expressed concerns about the impact to wildlife and the life of the dam. The GCRC is responsible for the maintenance of the dam.
“This is 1,000 percent the responsibility of the Genesee County Road Commission, not the state of Michigan and definitely not Argentine,” Saad said.
Over the weekend, he urged lake riparians to get their boats out of the water soon. He’s been in contact with state officials over creating infrastructure with a longer lifespan.
Patsy said closing the gate this way is just a temporary fix. The GCRC has had issues with the same gate in the past, and there’s still one working gate on the dam. They will now explore long-term solutions.
Patsy doesn’t yet have an estimate in mind for how much it will cost to fix the structure, but he said a new dam costs approximately $5 million.