Temporary Change to Lake Level

We have received several requests to drop water levels from people who need to do repairs, and have been unable to because of the large amount of rain (9” in March) resulting in high water levels.

Starting today (3/30), and over the next four to five days, we will be lowering the water levels. Beginning next weekend (4/6), we will begin to raise the water level at the normal seasonal rate. Depending on rainfall, boating should be available shortly after that. We have a target date of “lake full” of May 15th.

Lake water levels are on the rise again

The water level should rise to the normal drawdown height of between 60” and 72” below the spillway (or full level) over the next couple of weeks.  It should remain at that height until March 25th, when we will begin bringing the lake up to “full”.

As we told you in December, we needed the water level down about seven feet to evaluate the leakage through the dam.  Due to all of the excess rain, it took far longer to get the lake down to that level than anticipated.

While the water was down, we also did an inspection of the gatehouse, including the plates and tracks that the plates fit into.  Several plates needed the guides rewelded and this was done as well.  The concrete pit floor (where water dumps when it flows over the plates) had some scouring (erosion) which will need to be addressed at some point in the future.

With the water level so low, the leak had nearly stopped.  We will continue to monitor the leak as the lake fills up; this will give us additional data regarding possible fixes.

For any questions, please email us at cpwl@cpwl.org


Dear Lake Residents:

Most, if not all of you are aware of the problems we have with the dam leaking.

As we continue to try to determine the exact cause and fix, this letter is to notify you that we will be temporarily dropping the lake down eight feet, instead of the usual six.  This will only be for a couple of days so that we may do an evaluation of where the dam is leaking.

While the water is down low, we will also conduct an inspection of the rail and plate system, as well as the gate.  These are the devices that control the water level.  No problems are anticipated, but it can’t hurt to do a close inspection.

The water will only be at the low level for about 48 hours, hopefully less.  Once the inspection is complete, we will begin to raise the level up to the usual drawdown level of 5.5 feet, plus or minus 6 inches.

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has been notified as well as Smithfield and Glocester EMA Directors, and the Fire Departments both in Smithfield and Harmony.


Robert Eaton, President
Ken Robertson, Vice President
Philip Viall, Treasurer
Elizabeth Viall, Secretary
Mike Stewart, Dam Committee Member

Algae Bloom Advisory Update 2

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) visited the lake on 09/20.  They found a substantial bloom near Pine Ledge Road.  The “no swimming, boating, fishing” recommendation is still in place.  It is uncertain when the next visit will take place.  Inquires about possible treatments have been made to the RIDOH.

Algae Bloom Advisory Update

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) wants to begin the process of lifting the advisory against swimming, boating, and fishing on Waterman Lake.  The lifting process requires two negative toxin tests one week apart.  If you notice any algae blooms on the lake, please send a picture (and location) to cpwl@cpwl.org, and we will let RIDOH know.

Swimming, boating, fishing, etc., NOT RECOMMENDED

Dear Lake Residents:

On September 5th, the CPWL officers received an email from the RI Department of Health (RIDoH).  The email advised us that they had investigated reports of potentially harmful blue-green algae blooms on Waterman Lake.  Testing the bloom revealed “high cell counts,” indicating toxicity.  The email goes on to say “At this time [the Department of Health] further recommends no swimming, boating, and fishing due to the harmful bloom.”

RI DEM and RI DoH will be issuing a joint press release shortly.  They plan to do follow up testing early next week.  We will let you know more as we learn more.

The RI DEM website (https://dem.ri.gov/environmental-protection-bureau/water-resources/research-monitoring/cyanobacteria-blue-green-algae) has more information on blue-green algae which is copied below.  It also has the status of each affected lake in the state.

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are naturally found in many freshwater ecosystems. A combination of excess nutrients, sunlight, and high temperatures can lead to a rapid increase in cyanobacteria, called a “bloom.” Blooms of cyanobacteria generally occur in late summer into the early fall when water temperatures are warmest and an abundance of sunlight and nutrients are available. Some species of cyanobacteria can also produce toxins. These toxins are harmful to people and pets. There are no visual properties of a cyanobacteria bloom that indicate the algae are producing toxins. It is only possible to determine if toxins are present with laboratory tests. If a cyanobacteria bloom is observed, it is best to take caution and stay out of the water to avoid any potential exposure to toxins.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) work cooperatively to detect/respond to the presence of cyanobacteria blooms, evaluate the potential risks to the public, and, when necessary, issue health advisories notifying the public of health concerns. The agencies jointly issue health/recreational advisories when conditions indicate a cyanobacteria bloom poses a risk to public health.