COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews are lowering Morrow Lake by 13 feet to repair the Morrow Dam in Kalamazoo County.
Along with required maintenance, Sts Hydropower will repair or replace two of the dam’s spillway gates that are at the end of the lake in Comstock Township, according to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office.
The lake level is being lowered about six inches per day, weather permitted. Workers have already started that process. Officials say the lake will be at the lower level for an estimated four-month period.
The lake will be lowered by opening the dam gates, allowing more water out.
Kalamazoo County Emergency Management Director Mike Corfman compared the process to draining water from a bathtub.
“They’re going to open the drain a whole lot more so that even though there is water coming out of the faucet, it is still going to go and drain the lake down to a certain point where they can work on those gates,” Corfman said.
He said it’s important to maintain a well-working dam as it regulates water levels and generates electricity.
Corfman and fellow emergency officials are advising people to stay away from the land banks and not to go into the water.
“The lake bottom is going to be exposed, so we don’t know what kind of hazards might be there as far as mud and lake bottom growths,” he said.
By spring, the water levels should be back to normal, but the work will interfere with any winter lake activities, like ice fishing.
Lowering the lake will also impact the environment.
Officials close to the project told News 8 they are working closely with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to identify and relocate any species or organisms found in the affected water.
Crews will also keep a close eye out for any oil deposits left over from the 2010 oil spill.