Hatchery water intake pipes put in place

TAKING MEASUREMENTS — On Tuesday afternoon, a survey team contracted by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife measures the height of the water intake pipes that bring fresh water from Pleasant Lake to the Casco Fish Hatchery. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — It is not uncommon in the summer to see people swimming in Pleasant Lake.

What is uncommon is someone taking a swim with a 12-foot ruler in their hands.

On Tuesday, a crew was busy surveying the water intake pipes that had been put in place near the new dam in Casco. The testing was done to make certain the pipes were at the right height for the best water flow.

Last year, the pipes that fed fresh water into the Casco Fish Hatchery stopped working.

So, the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (IFW) started the construction project to replace those pipes.

The longer of the two pipes, which is 3,900 feet long, was assembled first and then pressure tested and then placed on the lake bed. After that process, the crews put together the 315-foot pipeline.

Over the past several weeks, the pipes were floating above water. Signs informed boaters to go to the IFW website to learn more about the project and get updates on construction.

“The pipeline is secured and floating along the southeastern shore of Pleasant Lake. The pipeline is marked with caution signs, warning lights and safety buoys,” according to the IFW website.

“Once the pressure testing [was] completed, the floating pipeline [was moved] to the area where it [was] lowered to the lake bottom,” the website said.

FRESH WATER SUPPLY — As part of its construction project, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife placed water intake pipes in Pleasant Lake near the newly-constructed dam in Casco. On Tuesday, crews were surveying the height of the new pipes. (De Busk Photo)

“The new intake pipe is replacing the original intake line, which stopped functioning last summer,” the IFW webpage said. “While the diminished water flow did not interrupt hatchery production last year, failure to replace the intake this season would mean a lost year of production.”

“The Casco Hatchery raises landlocked salmon, brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout, which are stocked throughout the state. It is the only state hatchery that produces rainbow trout and the Sebago Lake salmon strain,” according to the IFW article.

“The Casco Hatchery, established in 1954, produces over 85,000 catchable fish annually. Over 300,000 people fish in Maine each year, injecting $319 million into Maine’s economy annually,” the website said.

The IFW construction is entirely separate from the Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond Dam replacement project. The dam construction was paid for by the towns of Otisfield and Casco. IFW is footing the bill for the upgrades for the fish hatchery.

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