Swinging Bridge Reservoir, Sullivan County’s largest lake, which has been a lake without water for over a year now, may again have water by the end of the year. In late June, FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, approved the final repair plan for the dam. Mirant, the owner of the dam, says that this final phase will be completed by November and they expect to start a ‘controlled’ refilling by the end of the year. Read the Times Herald Record article for complete details.
But lakefront property owners and recreational users of the lake shouldn’t rejoice just yet. The announcement is certainly a positive step, and is a major change of direction by Mirant, that only a few months ago indicated it wouldn’t complete repairs and was looking to divest itself of the dam.
But the key phrase is ‘controlled refilling.’ A big question remains whether the lake will be refilled back to its previous level (which will give lakefront property owners their lakefront back) or at a lower, as yet unspecified, level. Notably absent from any pronouncement is a commitment to maintain the previous lake level, and that decision may not be made until the repairs and inspections are completed and the lake begins refilling. So we may be facing another 9 to 12 months of uncertainty over what the future ultimately holds for Swinging Bridge.