LAKE WAUSAU drawdown on hold

The Lake Wausau drawdown planned for Sept. 12 is on hold while Domtar officials wait for federal approval. Domtar planned to partially drain the reservoir to make concrete repairs and maintenance at the company’s hydroelectric dam in Rothschild. The repairs are required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for long-term maintenance for the structures.

The Rothschild company began the permitting process more than three months ago and has approval from the state Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says Craig Timm, regional public affairs manager at Domtar. But the FERC, which received an “overwhelming response” from local residents regarding the drawdown, won’t consider Domtar’s plans until the agency’s Sept. 22 meeting in Washington, D.C., forcing the delay.

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Domtar officials say they’ll begin draining the reservoir immediately after FERC approval. But the delayed start, combined with potential weather delays, could force a second drawdown in fall 2017.

“It is unfortunate that these delays leave so many waiting to complete our maintenance work and the shoreline activities lake residents have planned,” Timm says.

The original plan was to lower the level of Lake Wausau by four inches a day starting Monday, then raise the lake level again on Nov. 15.