Crews to remove debris from Lake Brazos Dam - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Crews to remove debris from Lake Brazos Dam

(Source: City of Waco) (Source: City of Waco)

Waco City Council approved to clear the debris clogging up the Lake Brazos Dam this week.

The $750,000 project will clear up the 19,000 cubic yards of debris that accumulated underwater since the dam was completed in 2007.

Jonathan Echols, PR Coordinator for Waco Water Utility Services, said the city has hired contractors in the past to remove log logs and jammed up debris off the surface.

This new project will take the cleaning below the surface.

"We'll pick up all of the stuff at the top, but as you look at the top, there's a whole lot more down underneath below the surface," Echols said. "A barge will float out there and a claw type-thing will actually go down into the water pick things up and bring them up [to the surface]."

Echols said a lot of the issues with debris comes from flooding along the Brazos River.

"The problem is [the debris] reduces the ability, the hydraulic efficiency of the dam. It does not allow the water to flow over the way it was designed to," Echols said. "It can also cause damage to the dam structurally if it's left there."

In October, the city had a bathymetric survey to look at how much debris was near the dam. The study found there is now 19,000 cubic yards of debris accumulated underwater about 200 feet upstream, compared to 9,000 cubic yards of debris found in June 2013. 

"The really concerning thing is as the debris comes in, it hits this weir, this labyrinth weir. Because the dam basically zigzags like this, these larger chunks will get stuck. And then what happens is all of the smaller stuff gets stuck. And just kind of cascades," Echols said.

Echols said they should start the clean up process in the next few months, but expect to have to clean up debris again in the next few years.

The project should be complete by the end of September. 

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