Where did the Lake go?

For the last 2 years the City of Lake Oswego has had a major infrastructure project going on:  the replacement of the aging and inadequate sewer interceptor line that ran along the bottom of the lake.  The line is about 9000 feet and was both too small, causing over-flow when it reached capacity in heavy rain, and prone to damage in the event of an earthquake.  Replacement of the system has happened in stages with the second stage now winding down and the third stage about to begin.  Completion of the third stage will complete the project.

Sometime in September the water level of the lake will be drawn down.  Remember that the water level is controlled at a dam that is located at the East end.  When the water is drawn down, the lake will look almost completely empty with the exception of the very deepest areas.  Mostly, it will look empty.  This will be the status of the lake until next March when the lake will be allowed to refill.  The new water will come from rain runoff, the Tualatin River, and area streams and creeks.  The goal is to have the lake re-filled in plenty of time for summer recreation.

I’ve lived in Lake Oswego long enough to recall the days when the lake level was lowered regularly.  It was part of normal management of the lake to drain the water out for a few weeks every other winter.  This allowed water-front property owners to do needed repairs on their sea walls and boat houses.  Then, about 10 or so years ago, the decision was made to not drain the lake on any regular basis.  Which means that it has now been quite a few years since it was drained and that means it is going to come as quite a shock to local residents who haven’t been paying attention.

It is my experience that following the draining of the lake not only does the lake look better (from all of the work that gets done around the lake when the water level is down), but the water quality also tends to be much improved.  Swimming in the lake next summer will be great!

So don’t be surprised when the lake is drained in a month or so.  The water level will be restored.

For further info, including an exact schedule and e-mail updates, you can visit the City of Lake Oswego’s website and get all of the details.