Trues Pond dam in need of repairs

Fundraising effort underway
By Fran Gonzalez | Jun 08, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Water at spring-high level rushes over the Trues Pond dam, located off Choate Road in South Montville, May 25. In summer, the leaking dam does not hold back water effectively, leaving the lake with extremely low water levels.

Montville — Another dam has been found to be in need of repair, in the same river fed by water flowing from Lake St. George and Stevens Pond that already has two leaking dams.

The water level at Trues Pond is high right now, with one of the wettest springs on record, but come summer, the water level is too low to swim in, according to Dave Lent, former president of the Camp NEOFA (Northeast Odd Fellows' Association) board of directors and current project chairman.

Lent is spearheading an effort to raise funds to repair the Trues Pond dam and also raise the water level for summer recreation at the lake.

"Currently we have had to truck kids over to Lake St. George to do the swim program," Lent said.

The dam at Trues Pond lies about a half-mile southeast on a one-acre lot adjacent to Choate Road in South Montville. Camp NEOFA owns the dam and the plot of land it sits on, according to Lent.

CPM Constructors of Freeport was hired to conduct a preliminary site review. The company wrote in a proposal, "Trues Pond dam does not retain water properly during the summer as water leaks through the gate and also under the dam structure itself."

Lent said, "If it becomes unsafe, the state will come in and take the dam out."

CPM partnered with Calderwood Engineering of Richmond to design and construct a fix for the dam. Lent said Calderwood has extensive experience with the permitting process for projects in, over and around water for the state. Because the project involves wetlands, a Natural Resource Protection Act permit application is required for both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The total project is slated to cost approximately $169,000.

According to Lent, Camp NEOFA has $57,000 in funds for the project and will need to raise an additional $112,000. To date, the camp has received $11,000 in donations for 2019 and $11,000 in pledges for 2020, making $90,000 its new goal.

"We want to know we have enough money to complete the job," Lent said.

Early reports indicate sinkholes have undermined the dam at the outflow. "It's uncontrollable," Lent said. Also, the sluice gate does not close tightly and a pipe under the gate allows water to spill over.

The project is geared to start at the low-water-level season in August 2020. The flow will be temporarily sandbagged to create a coffer dam, an enclosure built around the work area.

The project involves removal of the concrete "apron" under the existing gate, excavation of existing material one foot below existing sinkholes and underneath gate, installation of a 40-mil membrane on the existing pond bed, and replacement of existing pond floor material. The work will then be topped off with a 1-foot layer of riprap. Downstream, on the south side of the dam, riprap to a depth of 3 feet is planned.

Camp NEOFA has been in operation for over 50 years. "The Oddfellows have owned it since 1958, when it was bought from Trotting Park," Lent said.

The camp has 12 cabins including two ADA accessible, each cabin can house up to 10 people. The rustic cabins have no heat or electricity.

Last season 150 campers attended the camp, a number Lent said has gone down over the years. The camp hosts the popular Maine Fiddle Camp every year for two weekends in June and two weeks in June and August, and the facilities are also available for special events, including weddings, retreats and family reunions.

"When I was a kid, I went to camps like this," he said.

For more information, contact DavidLent53@gmail.com or send donations to Alice Bennett, Office Manager, P.O. Box 101, Liberty, ME 04949.

 

 

The sign that greets visitors to Camp NEOFA. The camp is run by the Northeast Odd Fellows Association, a group that promotes philanthropy, reciprocity and charity. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
The current Trues Pond water level, shown here May 25, is over the of the side of the dam. The repair would fix the gate (shown) and replace sinkholes in the riverbed. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
The view of Trues Pond from behind cabins at Camp NEOFA May 25. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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