Update on Lake Whetstone After Drain Valve Left Open Over Fourth of July Weekend
June 16th Update:
Photos of Lake Whetstone from Friday June, 16th.
The lake is slowly returning to normal water levels after being accidentally drained over the Fourth of July weekend. Additional details below.
June 10th Update:
Rain Friday evening restored some water to Lake Whetstone. Last weekend when the lake was being drained several feet for a scheduled drain dam system repair, the valve that was draining the lake was accidentally left open several days, completely draining the lake.
The Maryland Department of Environmental Protection has told residents “biologists have observed the site and have been in contact with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The turtles are resilient, well adapted to that environment, and are able to find habitat around the lake if they don’t like the lake bank conditions”.
The DEP also noted that when walking around the lake this week, they did not observe any dead wildlife or fish, and “it’s possible the fish swam upstream into Whetstone Run or downstream into Theater Pond. The egrets, herons, and other birds remain plentiful. We are continuing to monitor the lake for any damages or preventative actions we can take for the wildlife.”
Regarding the contractor and their mistake:
“DEP’s contractor, Triangle Contracting, was directed to lower the lake by 4 feet. This is a necessary safety precaution because they need to excavate into the dam embankment to replace the dam drainage system. The lake was drained by use of a lake valve located in the riser structure located in the lake; this valve is reachable only by boat.
The contractor left the valve open over the holiday weekend causing the excessive lake draining. Due to the remoteness of the valve, this error was not caught by DEP on-site staff. DEP has issued a violation notice to the contractor and have updated our processes and notification requirements regarding performing any lake valve work to prevent this accident from happening again.”