From swimming pool pumps to dams and sidewalks, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors reviewed a number of maintenance projects during their Monday, March 9 Work Session.
Ramapo Dam Study
On the unanimous recommendation of the Lakes & Dams Committee, the Board moved forward to the Open Meeting a proposal to commission Jewell Engineering — the SLLA's dam engineer — to assess the capacity of the Ramapo Dam spillways, make recommendations for any design changes needed, and provide an assessment of the dam's ability to handle a fifty-year storm. The study is expected to cost $7,000.
The proposed study had generated significant debate during the Board's February 9 Work Session. Former Director and Lakes & Dams Committee member Don Fentzlaff argued that the dam experienced a 100-year rain event in 2013, when more than six inches of rain fell in less than five hours. Despite the fact that the primary spillway was not functioning at the time, the existing emergency spillways handled the overflow with no problems.
When President Bob Racine raised that point during the March 9 Work Session, Community Manager Ray Sohl argued that thunderstorms are highly localized, so it is not clear what volume of rain actually fell in the Lake Ramapo drainage area during that particular storm.
The NC Dam Safety Office, which is charged with inspecting dams throughout the state, classifies Ramapo as a low-hazard dam — one which, if it failed, would cause no more than $30,000 in property damage or interrupt the travel of no more than 25 vehicles per day.
That means repairs and modifications to the dam do not require state approval — and state approval was not obtained for repairs to the primary Ramapo spillway undertaken in late 2013, when the Association spent approximately $10,000 to install a siphon system to replace the collapsed metal pipe that had previously served as the dam's primary outlet.
"Though state approval is not required," Sohl said, "the Assocaition still has the responsibility to ensure that the dam is maintained according to engineering standards."
"We as board members are elected to act in the welfare of the people on this community," Director Chuck Leach said, supporting Sohl's point.
"There are thirty houses around that dam. We have two engineering firms recommending this study. Should that dam fail, there is a chance of a loss of property values. We recommended spending $4,000 to repair a lighthouse that does nothing. I totally support this proposal."
Ultimately, the Board voted unanimously to send the proposal to the Open Meeting for a vote. Racine noted that he felt is should be moved to the Open Meeting, but was not sure whether he would ultimately vote in favor of the proposal.