A committee made up of officials representing Atlantic County and Hamilton Township are considering options to finally fix the dam at lake Lenape - and hope to make a decision next month.
Agate Construction of Dennis Township, Cape May County was awarded a contract to do construction work on the dam at the lake by March 2011. However, during that construction some sheet metal in the dam had washed away and water had seeped through, said Hamilton solicitor Robert Sandman.
The leak caused lowered water levels and the county enacted a ban on boating on the lake for about a week last June due to the low water.
Agate had replaced the missing sheet metal it with rip-rap, or a collection of rocks, to stop the leak. The contractor was discussing whether to grate the rip-rap or add more sheet metal to the dam and officials believed it would be fixed by the spring.
But Hamilton Township Administrator Mike Jacobs said the work is still not complete and there is concern of problems with the dam again this year.
"We have short term concerns about the lake draining," he said. "We're trying to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Agate officials did not return calls seeking comment on the project.
The county and township each own half of the dam and the Lake Lenape Dam Committee - which is made up of representatives from both entities - met on June 14 to discuss the issue with Agate, Sandman said. Agate presented a remediation plan and the committee decided to wait until the July 12 meeting on how to proceed, he said.
"Once we called a meeting we got (Agate's) attention," he said.
The committee may decide Agate is in default of its contract and have the bonding company come in and hire a new firm to make the repairs, Sandman said.
"The lake is dropping rapidly and the citizens are alarmed," he said. "It's depriving the township and county of their asset. It's creating a potential hazardous situation for boaters and fishermen, we need the contractor to step in, fix it and make it right."
Mayor Roger Silva declined to address specifics of potential actions by the township, but said he believed the situation would be decided on within the next month.
"Either the contractor will finish and we'll have a dam that works or other measures will be taken," he said.
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