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August 20, 2020
At Lake Management’s August 14, 2020, we agree to have the engineer who designed and oversaw the gate valve installation examine the Plunkett Lake gate valve and dam, to be sure it’s operating correctly.  This was not the biennial inspection, but rather a specific look to ensure the gate valve is working as designed.
Marc Volk, principal engineer and Earl Moffatt, the gate valve installation project coordinator from Foresight Land Services in Pittsfield, visited the dam yesterday.  They were joined by Select Board and Town staff members.  After a thorough examination, Volk reported that the value is operating as designed.  It is currently closed, and water is only draining from the dam’s toe drains, as it should, allowing for the required continuous flow. 
Volk did report the shaft that operates the valve from above is distorted.  He believes this is likely from “trying to over-close” the valve, and applying too much force caused the shaft to bow.” He recommended we repair this before winter. Once that piece is replaced, Moffatt offered to return and review the operation and maintenance plan with Highway Superintendent Bud Hall and a Lake Management representative(s).
The conversation moved to the drought conditions in the Berkshires and across the region.  Volk stated that given the size and sun exposure at Plunkett, as well as the 12 weeks of drought conditions we are all experiencing this summer, he was not alarmed by the lake’s water level.  While unfortunate, he said the same conditions have lakes down all over the northeast. He suggested residents see this document.
Bob Graves
Town Administrator
Cc: Select Board
      Lake Management
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