Lake Woodrock September 2014


The summer of 2014 was a dry one, and especially so for Lake Woodrock since the leak that appeared in 2009 reappeared during the summer of 2014. This time the leak was large enough to drain most of the water during the month of July, so we pulled the plug early in August. We started two repair projects in early September: one to fix the leak underneath the dam (the one that drained the lake), and a second one to fix the leaks thru emerging cracks in the dam (similar to the cracks that necessitated the major and expensive dam repair some 17 years ago by an industrial contractor).

Both projects were wrapped-up the week ending Sept.13, thanks to the entire membership (for paying their dues so we could afford to do the repairs), and to a few hardy members (Adam, Amy, Bill, Charlotte, Chris, Dan, Debra, Kathleen, Jim, John, Julie, Lisa, Lois, Max) who rolled up their sleeves (and their pants) and jumped into the lake bed (literally). Bill Hagen managed both projects and handled all aspects (research, logistics, communication, volunteers, hired hands) with enthusiasm and competence. As a result both projects ran smoothly and succeeded handily.

Most of the action happened on Saturday, Sept.13. While the crew of minutemen (and minute-women) and a few hired hands worked like beavers, the standouts were clearly these two:


and Nico


None of the other photos are as charming, but let's start with a before and after shot of the leak underneath the dam.




But let's rewind the clock a little. I did mention two projects, and the first one was the leaks thru the dam. For that project we cleaned the dam, patched the cracks, and sealed the cement. How to you clean a 130 ft cement dam? I'll let the following photo speak for itself:

Charlotte and Kathleen @ 3000 PSI


OK, now back to the leak underneath the dam. That turned-out to be a good-sized hole that burrowed down about 5 feet, and then joined the under-dam channel that evidently connected to the 2009 leak underneath the dam. Here's a shot of the hole all dug out, and before we filled it with a mixture of rock dust and Portland cement:

The Big Leak


The next shot shows two of the hired hands starting to fill the hole with cement and rock dust:

The Big Patch


We found a huge rock in the path of the leak, and managed to move it thanks to the muscle of the men in the mud:

The Big Boulder


Bentonite clay is a something of a miracle cure for leaky lakes, and we ordered about two tons for this job. The clay was delivered to Spruce Lane at 3 AM on Saturday morning (the day of the big fix). When Bill runs a project, extraordinary things happen! If you look at the bags piled on the top of the dam in the next shot, it's the Bentonite and a few bags of cement. Oh and that headless guy sitting on the sacks is Max:

Bags of Bentonite


How did all those bags of Bentonite get on the dam?



Now Max had some help with all of those bags of clay. Here's one of the hired helpers:

Clay on the way


And how did the cement get from the top of the dam to the bottom?

Cement comin' down


Yes, you saw that right. A hired hand dropped the 90 lbs bags of cement on Chris:

That's worth a second look


The cement was mixed with the rock dust:

Rock dust comin' over


How did the rock dust get into the lake bed?

John dumps the dust


Another wheel barrow moved the rock dust from the chute to the site.

Bill brings the dust


But wait... someone had to get that rock dust into John's wheel barrow.

Loadin' the rock dust


Definitely worth another look:

Adam and Cash


That little guy stole the show:

Just Cash


Adam's wheel barrow was huge, and really heavy when filled with rock dust. Moving it up the hill on Spruce was no easy task:

Rock dust comin' up


When it was all said and done, we had 5 ft of cement and rock dust in the big hole, topped with Bentonite clay. In addition we spread a layer of Bentonite clay all along the top of the lake bed where it meets the dam so that it can seal any future leaks that open-up at that interface.

All done


At the end of the day Bill shut the huge value at the bottom of the lake and dam.

Bill corks it back up


Here's a close-ujp of that 16 inch gate value shutting down:

The value half-way closed


We had some extra days with the power washer that we rented to clean the dam, and a few energetic members turned it on the benches at the beach. Remember how dingy and uninviting they looked? Not now! Here they are after power washing and a coat of stain:

Rejuvenated benches


It's a lot of work to maintain a dam and lake and beach. Is it worth it? Take a look at this face. Question answered.



Thanks to everyone who helped to get these projects done. Lake Woodrock is a little jewel in Westchester County, and we've helped preserve it.