State environmental officials completed work this afternoon on a temporary fix that should shore up a leak in the small outlet structure that holds Silver Lake back from the Mispillion River.
DNREC officials first discovered the leak at the spillway embankment off Maple Avenue on Wednesday after several Milford residents reported noticing a significant drop in the lake’s water level.
“It was already a little low because of the dry weather we’ve been having, but I would say it was probably about two feet below its normal level,” said Frank Piorko, director of DNREC’s Division of Watership Stewardship. “Now that we’ve been able to stem the flow, we hoping to figure out a longer-term solution.”
Piorko said the leak was created when timbers that form the a the outside wall of the structure started to rot away, which allowed water to escape through a four-foot pipe in the embankment.
“I’m not exactly sure of [the timbers] age, but it’s safe to say that they’re pretty old,” he said. “It’s actually not unusual at all for us to have to make repairs on an old outlet structure like this, especially as they get up there in years. All of the damns undergo annual safety inspections, but some outflows can be tough to spot because they’re underwater.”
State environmental works spent Friday surrounding the leaking timbers with sandbags, before pumping out the gap and then securing new wooden planks along the base to hold the water at bay until a more permanent fix can be installed, he said.
It does not appear that the leak discovered this week threatened the fish or other wildlife that live in the 28-acre pond.
“There were some concerns with fish management, but our fisheries folks were out there checking it out today,” he said. “Fortunately, there are no restrictions being placed on the public’s use of the lake as a result of this incident.”