Lake drainage deemed vandalism

Posted Oct. 14, 2010, at 3:04 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.
Mantle Lake was partially drained last week and police are seeking the public?s help in finding whoever is responsible. The water level fell to about half its normal level before officials were able to shut the valve. The lake is now filling up again with no known negative impact to wildlife native to the area. PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK ARCHER/PRESQUE ISLE STAR-HERALD
Mantle Lake was partially drained last week and police are seeking the public?s help in finding whoever is responsible. The water level fell to about half its normal level before officials were able to shut the valve. The lake is now filling up again with no known negative impact to wildlife native to the area. PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK ARCHER/PRESQUE ISLE STAR-HERALD

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Police are looking for the person or persons responsible for opening a valve last week that resulted in the partial drainage of Mantle Lake.

The incident was discovered by police patrolling the area on Oct. 5.

“I called it into the station around 5:48 p.m. Tuesday,” said Sgt. Joey Seeley of the Presque Isle Police Department. “I contacted Chris Beaulieu, director of the Rec and Parks Department, to try to determine what happened.”

When contacted Wednesday, Beaulieu confirmed the lake had been partially drained.

“It looks like someone went up and opened the pipe,” explained Beaulieu, who indicated there was no damage to the facility. “It wasn’t drained completely, but we had problems getting the drain closed, due to debris that had washed into it.”

Beaulieu said he was working with the police department to “determine what happened.”

Nick Archer, director of the local DEP office, was on site Wednesday to determine if any damage had occurred to the lake or its inhabitants.

“The lake went down a great deal, debris washed into the gate,” Archer said. “Fortunately, it had a minimal effect on wildlife. We caught it in time. It didn’t completely drain — water level was at medium.”

Seeley said that whoever is responsible will be charged accordingly.

“They could face criminal mischief if its determined anything was damaged. Depending on the damage, it could be either a misdemeanor or felony,” said Seeley.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the PIPD at 764-4476 or call Aroostook County Crimestoppers at 800-638-TIPS and possibly be eligible for an award.

Officials were able to shut the valve and the lake was filling up again.

“There was no negative impact on the creatures that call the lake home,” said Beaulieu. “But it was definitely opened deliberately by someone.”

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