Penobscot River water levels begin to drop near Mattawamkeag as Brookfield repairs dam

Posted July 18, 2013, at 5:12 p.m.

MATTAWAMKEAG, Maine — Brookfield Renewable Energy LLC has begun lowering the Penobscot River’s water level as much as 25 feet near Weldon Dam as company workers make annual repairs on the dam over the next six weeks, officials said Thursday.

The drawdown began Wednesday to allow company workers to begin repairing the roll gate section of the dam, also known as the Mattaseunk Dam, on July 24, company officials said in a press statement.

The repair work is expected to take about six weeks, during which time the impoundment area around the dam would remain drawn down to a level between 20 and 25 feet below full, company officials said.

To help compensate for the loss of river swimming and boating, Brookfield will pay to keep the East Millinocket and Millinocket outdoor swimming pools open two weeks longer than usual. The pools opened in June and will close on Aug. 23, Medway Administrative Assistant Katherine Lee said.

“I am very pleased with them. They have been very, very eager to help and to listen to us,” Lee said Thursday.

Brookfield’s water management plan for flows and water levels will facilitate the repairs and minimize the impact of high water rain events, both at the dam and at the Penobscot River Restoration Trust’s planned removal of the downstream Veazie Dam, company officials said.