The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has mandated that Mill Pond be drained and dredged, and the village repair Lepper Dam and the gates. Next week, the draw down at Mill Pond will begin, and should be empty a few weeks after.
“We always get comments when Mill Pond is drawn down, but it is necessary for improvements mandated by the DNR.” Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said.
Construction will then begin on Sept. 23, and won't be completed until March 2014, at the earliest. Fitzgerald provided an update on the project Tuesday at the Menomonee Falls Village Board meeting.
Over the years, the depth of Mill Pond has fallen as sediment continues to pile up at the floor of the pond. The growing mound of sediment can have an adverse affect on the life of Lepper Dam, and the DNR recommends removing the sediment cyclically.
The village approved $192,195 to replace the gates, fill in cracks, pressure wash, chemically grout, and cement the dam. This portion of project was budgeted for $211,000, so the final bid came in just below.
The new dam gates will be stainless steel rather than steel. They will be lighter and easier to handle, and will address the leaks that have been occurring there. The village paid to repair the 40-year-old gates just two years ago, but the new seals failed. The repairs at the time were required by the Department of Natural Resources, but gate replacement was always on the radar for village leaders.
Dredging Mill Pond is the next phase of the project. The silt that has built up behind the dam puts added stress on the structure. Sediment will be dug up and hauled out to a disposal site. In all, the entire project is budgeted to cost $400,000.
Once the project is finished, of course, water will once again flow on the most photogenic locale downtown.