City staff are in the process of repairing the city reservoir’s dam after they discovered a drain failure in December.
The city was required to lower the water levels in Roger’s Reservoir for safety reasons, and the water will not be raised until the drain is fixed, said Utilities Director Steve Salka.
The Durango City Council approved spending $300,000 on the repair Tuesday night. The money will come from the water fund, which has about $4 million in savings right now.
The problem was discovered when city staff found clay in the water draining below the dam. This is evidence that the material used to build the dam was slowly washing away.
“Every dam built out of earth is designed to leak, but it’s designed to leak properly,” Salka said.
The city used a camera to explore the drain pipe and found it was caved in.
The city will replace the pipe and the filter around it made of sand and gravel that allows the water to filter through the dam but not the clay. The work is expected to take two weeks and it will start as soon as possible, Salka said.
The work must be finished before the reservoir can be filled back up.
“It’s not an easy job. It’s rather nerve wracking, but it’s something we need to do to get enough water in the summer,” Salka said.
The project was expected to cost $246,000, but Salka asked for $300,000 because he wants to be ready for unexpected needs.
“I believe we are going to run into things we don’t know are down there,” Salka said.
Any unused funds will go back into the water fund.