‘Significant’ Seepage Found in Dam, Cranbury’s Lake Drained for Safety
A $3 million dam rehabilitation project had been scheduled to start this year.
Cranbury's Brainerd Lake was drained Wednesday after a “significant” amount of water was seeping through the dam around the spillway, according to officials.
The DEP’s Dam Safety Department, the county's engineering department and consultants, Cranbury staff members and Mayor David Cook, met at the dam Wednesday and determined the water was getting through the west side of the bridge’s foundation.
“The inspection revealed significant seepage on downstream side of the dam adjacent to culvert, not flowing through the culvert, but under and through the downstream masonry wall,” said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna, noting that before the lake was drained the water level had dropped a foot.
The lake was drained to avoid damage under the roadbed and for safety, according to Cook.
“It’s unfortunate we have to drop the level of the lake,” Cook said Thursday. “We feel it’s a safety issue and we wanted to be proactive that way.”
County engineers will monitor the roadway for any settling that could cause problems, such as a pothole, on the road, Hajna said.
A $3 million dam rehabilitation project is scheduled for later this year, and plans called for the lake to be lowered for the repairs, which include fixing the infrastructure of the dam. A county engineer said he’s hoping the construction will begin sooner than originally anticipated.
“Given the fact that the lake had to be lowered, we’re hoping that it expedites the review,” said Ron Sendner, a supervising engineer for Middlesex County.
Currently the township and county are awaiting permitting before they can go out to bid for the project.
Sendner said the cost of the project would not be increased, as interlocking steel sheeting was planned to fix the seepage. Minor seepage was known to officials, but has increased significantly than when originally discovered.
The lake, which is jointly owned by Cranbury Township and Middlesex County, is inspected every two years, with the most recent inspection about six months ago when planning for the repair project, Cook said.