Havre Daily News
The Hill County Commission will ask state legislators for help with seepage problems at the Beaver Creek Dam. The county, which owns the dam, will provide about $169,000 of the estimated $269,000 cost to install a seepage-control barrier. To cover the remaining $100,000, it is seeking a state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation grant for that amount.
Commission chair Kathy Bessette said that without the grant, the county would not have the financial resources to make the needed improvements. Bessette said letters of support are needed from the public to help get the grant. Letters need to be given to the commission by Friday afternoon. The deadline for the grant application is Monday.
She said the commission has been working with the DNRC and Billings-based HKM Engineering to come up with solutions for the seepage problem.
“It is possibly a safety issue. We don't know what will happen if it is not fixed,” Bessette said Wednesday.
Seepage has been a persistent problem in the right abutment area since construction of the dam, and the structure is not in compliance with current standards. Patching and filling efforts have fallen short and a berm is needed, Bessette said.
The commission eventually will go before the Legislature's long-range planning committee. A set time for the testimony has not been set.
DNRC awarded the county operation permits in 2004, with the condition that the seepage problem must be addressed before 2009, Bessette said. Failure to meet the condition could result in a reservoir level restriction, which would mean the level of the reservoir could be reduced 13.5 feet in elevation to a usable storage capacity of 1,200 acre-feet, resulting in a loss of 2,400 acre-feet of usable storage in the reservoir.