Private dam in Arlington could fail at any time
The only sound around the Prestonwood Lake dam Friday was the pump motors sending water downstream to relieve pressure on the failing structure.
With the pumps running overnight, water was no longer going over the dam or seeping through the soil.
The 3.5-acre lake has been in danger of collapsing and sending debris downstream since Wednesday when the city issued an emergency declaration, allowing workers to enter the private property around the lake.
City spokesman Jay Warren said Friday afternoon that crews were able to open an area near the dam for and the lake was draining down.
The city has stressed that the lake is privately owned and that no homes are threatened.
If the dam failed, it could send water and debris downstream into a culvert surrounded by wooded area. It would then flow under Green Oaks Boulevard. City officials don’t believe the lake, which is believed to be only 1 to 5 feet in depth, has enough water to flood Green Oaks..
Homeowners are left with the troubling question of who is responsible for fixing the dam or knocking it down. The saturated soil around the crumbling concrete structure mean there’s no safe way to make a temporary fix.
The Prestonwood West homeowners association disbanded three years ago, leaving no one in charge for the homeowners.
Robert Blake, the last HOA president, said he has been studying documents, trying to determine who is responsible for maintaining the dam.
“We still don’t have any direction from anybody,” Blake said. “I don’t necessarily expect the city to pay for it. The city has pumps running across the dam but they’re still saying it will eventually fail.”
Blake said HOA bylaws and covenants specifically state that it was not responsible for maintaining the dam. Some homeowner deeds appear to show that 23 lots around the lake are responsible for the dam’s maintenance. Some neighborhood plats, Blake said, show property owners near the dam might have ownership.
What would it cost to fix the dam?
Blake said he’s had estimates of anywhere from $60,000 to $1.2 million.