Debris in culvert raises Heath water level
By Dawn De Busk
CASCO — Local selectman Grant Plummer and his family spend time on their snowmobiles “down at the Heath.”
When trying to cross over to the Heath, Plummer noticed that the Thompson Lake side is open water, when it should be solid ice. When his family is out riding, they pick and choose the safest passage between Thompson Lake and the Heath.
“The water from the Heath is flowing enough under the road that the water is” running over the ice on Thompson Lake, he explained.
“They are supposed to be the same attached water bodies, but they are at two different levels,” he said.
Plummer shared his observations and concerns during a Casco Board of Selectmen meeting on Feb. 8. The meeting was held on that date because a snowstorm on Feb. 7 postponed the regularly-scheduled meeting.
It was Casco Town Manager Dave Morton who actually brought up the problem with the water level of the Heath and a potential solution on the horizon.
“The Heath is 18 to 20 inches higher than it ought to be,” Morton said.
Town officials suspect that debris in the culvert is damming up the water and not allowing it to flow.
Jim Willey, of R.N. Willey & Sons Excavating, is working with an area logger to remove the debris from the culvert in the next couple of days, Morton said.
That solution should “get that water flowing again,” he said. “The original culvert is about 50 years old,” he said.
“We have problems with beavers going in and plugging it up. We clearly don’t have enough beaver trappers in the area,” he said. “People think they’re cute and they’re nice animals. But, people don’t realize how much they (beavers) cost taxpayers,” Morton said.
“Many moons ago, there was a bridge there. The town decided it was too expensive to replace the bridge. They put the culvert in there instead,” he said. “I don’t think that was the best solution.”
According to the website for the Thompson Lake Marina, “One of the quiet attractions of Thompson Lake is the Heath. This is a separate body of water located at the southern end of the lake across from the Thompson Lake Marina. It connects directly to Thompson Lake via a culvert that runs under the causeway. It is about two miles long and a half a mile wide and is fairly shallow.”
On Friday, Morton said that the debris-removal project had not yet happened and was weather-dependent.