DRAWDOWN BEGINS on Lake Wausau

The Lake Wausau drawdown originally planned for Sept. 12 is now underway, after Domtar company officials received final approval for the plan by federal authorities.

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Shereen Siewert/City Pages

The Lake Wausau drawdown has begun and will continue this week, also affecting the Rib River tributary, shown here.

The drawdown marks the first time in 25 years that the Rothschild mill will partially drain the lake to make repairs to the dam, which is controlled by the company.

RELATED: Lake Wausau drawdown on hold

The lake will drop no more than four inches per day until reaching maximum drawdown levels. The drawdown also will affect tributaries to the body of water and shallow beds will be completely exposed. No vehicles or ATVs are allowed to access those areas during the drawdown, according to a Domtar news release.

The exposed beds also mean people and their pets might have an increased risk of exposure to blastomycosis, a potentially life-threatening fungal infection caused by rhizomes that live in damp areas such as river beds and swamps.

After repairs are complete, the lake will be gradually refilled and is expected to return to normal levels by Nov. 15.