Pipe issues push back Goose Pasture Tarn project
A rehabilitation project’s schedule for the Goose Pasture Tarn dam has been pushed back after issues with a pipe were found by engineers.
Public Works Director James Phelps told Breckenridge Town Council Tuesday, May 10, a bypass pipe that was designed as part of this project to carry water had a leak and further inspections found other issues, as well.
“We’re not in a situation where the dam is going to breach, and nothing of that nature is going to happen,” Phelps said. “What we’re dealing with now is just trying to look for the best way to convey that water.”
Construction to repair the dam at Goose Pasture Tarn began in April of 2021. While the dam is located in Blue River, the rehabilitation project is being led by Breckenridge, which owns and operates the dam. Water from the Goose Pasture Tarn goes to the Gary Roberts Water Treatment Plant, which serves the residents of Breckenridge.
The rehabilitation project includes the replacement of two existing spillways with a single, larger spillway that is intended to improve the safety of the dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 2018 National Inventory of Dams rated the dam as a “high hazard” based on the estimated consequences if the dam were to fail.
“The backup plan here — it’s not so much a backup plan but a pattern that always existed, but we weren’t counting on it — is that there is an existing outlet works as part of the dam,” he said. “That’s the 30-inch pipe that conveyed water previous to all this work. So that pipe was never designed to be part of where we’re at right now, but it does allow us the ability. (It’s) very likely we’re going to use that pipe in conjunction with a 96-inch pipe to move this water.”
Officials expect the project to be completed in the fall of 2023, or three construction seasons. The dam repair project is expected to cost a total of approximately $20 million, which is being paid for by Breckenridge and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. According to the most recent update posted by the town, the contractor is continuing to “prepare the project site for snowmelt runoff.”
“We’re doing everything we can to mitigate any kind of sedimentation that’s going to be released in this,” Phelps added. “We feel like we’re in a good situation for that right now, but there will be a potential for a little bit of cloudier water that’ll be observable.”
Mayor Eric Mamula asked who would be held financially responsible for the repairs to the pipe and the potential costs, and Phelps said that the team working on the rehabilitation project has not pinpointed who may or may not be at fault. He added that their main priority is making sure water is going where it’s supposed to go.
Phelps also said, as of Tuesday, this could push back the project by three weeks, but there is not yet a calculation of what it will cost.
“It’ll push some of this work off into next year’s season, and next year’s season was really not intended to be as intensive on some of the construction side of this,” Phelps said.
Citizens can visit TownOfBreckenridgeGPTD.com/blog for more information about the project and for the most recent updates. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and customers who are experiencing a disruption are encouraged to call the town at 970-453-3170.
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