City approves $8 million contract to repair Lake Tyler dam
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The City of Tyler approved a multi-million dollar contract Wednesday, aimed at shoring up a leak in an East Texas dam.
The $8 million construction repair contract was awarded to Gracon Construction, Inc.
Lake-goers have argued in past years that the leak at the Lake Tyler dam is a major factor in low lake levels; however, the city maintains that is not the reason for undertaking the new project.
In fact, the city says that the problem has likely existed since the dam was constructed in the1940'ss, due to older construction techniques and the lake’s sandy foundation. Officials say they have also documented seepage as early as 1978.
But in 2010, the city discovered boils, which are a mixture of soil and water, leaking under the dam at a rate of about 30 gallons per minute. While officials argue that the rate is tiny in comparison to the overall lake size, the city now plans to construct a wall just downstream of the dam. The wall will extend 60 feet into the ground and prevent any further leaking.
Many residents in the area still believe the leak has some part in lake levels as low as eight feet below normal in the past years. But according to city officials, Lake Tyler has simply reacted normally to its natural conditions, including a small drainage basin and a lack of rainfall.
According to the most recent water data from the state, the lake was about two feet below normal in 2012. By 2013, it was down to about four feet below normal. But as of Wednesday morning, the lake is actually seeing a small surplus of about half a foot. The last time the lake had been at that level was back in 2010.