AVON — It’s going to be an up-and-down summer at Nottingham Lake.
The lake is actually a reservoir that was created in the early 1980s to hold the town’s drinking water supply.
Town officials noticed a serious drop in the lake’s water level in September 2011, which ultimately led to the discovery of a fairly large hole in the lake’s liner, which is now more than 30 years old.
The hole was patched, and it held, mostly, but town officials ultimately decided to replace the entire liner, a roughly $1.25 million job.
The lake was drained last winter, anticipating a spring start for the approximately three-month-long job. But that meant the lake wouldn’t have water in it for a couple of big July events in town — the annual Salute to the USA Fourth of July celebration and the XTERRA Mountain Championships, set for July 20 this year.
The XTERRA event has an outdoor swimming element and hundreds of participants. An empty lake would have meant moving the event to another town, with no guarantee it would return.
With that in mind, town officials decided to patch the lake one more time.
Town engineer Justin Hildreth said the patching will take place next week over the course of three or four days. The patches will cover some old holes, as well as new ones dug in the course of testing to determine the integrity of the soil underneath the liner.
Once the patching is complete, the lake will be refilled by spring runoff, filling the lake enough to use during the July events.
As soon as the last XTERRA swimmer climbs out of the water July 20, town officials will pull the plug and drain the lake again.
Hildreth said the liner replacement is expected to take about three months. But, he added, that doesn’t necessarily mean the lake will be closed for skating again this coming winter.
The lake is filled from an old irrigation ditch and Buck Creek, Hildreth said. A wetter, cooler summer than last year could mean at least some water to partially refill the lake. But the lake won’t be totally refilled until next year’s runoff season.
Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.