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GBRA will leave Lake Placid spill gates lowered until further notice

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority announced today that a non-operational spillgate on the dam at Lake Placid will remain so until further notice.

Lake Placid is one of four lakes — including Lake Gonzales, Lake McQueeney and Meadow Lake — that was planned to be drained after a similar dam failure at Lake Dunlap in 2019 and is the second on that four-lake list to face a spillgate failure this year. A lawsuit stopped that plan and plans to replace some of the spillgates was put into motion.

The dam at Lake Gonzales experienced a spillgate failure on August 3 after a large tree got caught on the gate during a heavy  rain event and officials said the only fix is a full-scale replacement of the gate.

Lake Gonzales is not part of a Water Control Improvement District like Lake Dunlap, Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney, and therefore there are currently no plans to repair or replace the spillgates as GBRA said there are “no funding mechanisms” in place to facilitate the replacement.

A spillgate on the dam at Lake Placid was lowered on October 14 over heavy rains and broke while lowered, assigning it the same fate as the others with incredibly low water levels.

GBRA announced that they are following the recommendation of engineers and will keep the spillsgates on Lake Placid in the lowered position until construction to replace the two spillgates with new hydraulically-actuated steel crest gates begins next year. The project is expected to take at least two years to complete, GBRA said.

“While we are disappointed that we cannot safely attempt to resume spillgate operations at Lake Placid, the plan to complete the necessary replacement of the spillgates is already underway thanks to collaboration with the Lake Placid WCID, Citizens United for Lake Placid, and the Lake Placid community,” said General Manager and CEO Kevin Patteson. “We have already finalized the engineering design for the Lake Placid restoration project and we expect construction to begin early next year.”

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