CASCO — Work to complete the construction of the Pleasant Lake Dam by December continues to be on target, despite some delays.

The $500,000 job by the towns of Otisfield and Casco to replace the existing dam that has deteriorated over the years needs to be completed before winter sets in.

“If it isn’t, we’ve got problems,” Otisfield Selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson said recently. The project cannot be shut down for the winter because of the potential for heavy rains in the spring that could wipe out the work, he said. 

Ferguson said workers recently discovered the remains of a very old structure — perhaps the original Hancock Lumber dam — as they attempted to take down part of the existing dam. Several huge logs, clearly more than a century old, were found under the dam.

The finding delayed the project slightly as design engineer Myron Petrovsky was called to the scene to determine how to handle the issue. Ferguson said the discovery meant that part of the abutment to the left of the gate that had been slated to stay had to be removed because it was unstable.

The project had been slated to be completed by the end of November but was pushed back because the Maine Department of Environmental Protection did not issue a permit in a timely fashion, officials said.

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“We started a month late because there was no permit from DEP until the 13th of October. We wanted to hit the ground Sept. 1,” Ferguson said.

In 2014, Casco and Otisfield selectmen received a report from the Maine Emergency Management Agency about leakage and structural deterioration at the spillway dam. The towns face significant fines from the DEP if the dam fails.

Town officials, along with members of the Pleasant Lake and Parker Pond associations, have been meeting since then to develop a strategy to repair or replace the dam.

In June, Casco and Otisfield selectmen approved a $421,639 bid by T-Buck Construction of Auburn to replace the dam on Route 121 behind Hancock Lumber offices in Casco. Voters in Otisfield and Casco each approved the $250,000 as their town’s share of the project.

The bond has been issued and payments to T-Buck Construction, Petrovsky, design engineer of MBP Consulting of Portland, and Ross A. Cudlitz of Engineering Assistance & Design Inc. in Yarmouth, acting as the on site “eyes” for Otisfield and Casco, have begun, Ferguson said.

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