The replacement of the troublesome spillway at Sapulpa’s Lake Sahoma has begun. The lake and its main tributary, Rock Creek to its northwest, has been drained nearly dry. Only a few pools are still holding water.
Circle B Construction out of Bristow with facilities also in Sapulpa is currently removing the original spillway built in 1947. The company also is building a road from the wastewater treatment plant to the back of the spillway so concrete trucks can have access once the new spillway is formed up. Equipment -- dozers and a huge jackhammer -- are on site at the lake side of the spillway.
Assistant City Manager Rick Rumsey is overseeing the progress there as well as that of three other projects being funded by bond issues approved by voters last year. Rumsey asks that citizens remain patient. The lake is a back-up water source for Sapulpa, but also a popular recreational area with fishing, duck-hunting, camping, picnicking, hiking and wildlife watching. “We are going to use this time to make several other improvements out here,” Rumsey said this week on site in his monthly city update meeting with Sapulpa News and Views. “We are using all of our departments to address some maintenance and shoreline issues,” he said.
Two of the bond issue projects, including the Lake Sahoma spillway replacement, will satisfy consent orders from two Oklahoma governmental agencies. The Oklahoma Water Resource Board has been monitoring leaks in the spillway’s approximately six-foot thick concrete dam (not to be confused with the lake’s rock and earthen dam a little further west) for the past several years. It has failed inspections for at least four years. Leaks were getting more pronounced and the city was told it would have to address the integrity of the 70-year old structure. The lake was pulled down in 2012 and again in 2013 for assessment and possible repair. The city did not have enough funds to meet the estimated repair costs (more than 600,000) at that time and the lake filled up once more.
Since the opening of the
lake in 1947 the spillway was re-enforced some years later when the lake
level was raised about three feet. That also is when the bridge on
Lake Road between Pretty Water Lake and Sahoma was raised. Now, it too
is problematic and has to be replaced. Rumsey hopes that can happen
while the lake is down.
The spillway replacement could be completed by spring if weather allows another 100 days of good work days.