Fisherman finds leak in Avon’s lake |

Fisherman finds leak in Avon’s lake

AVON, Colorado – Nottingham Lake usually holds a pretty consistent amount of water. When the lake started dropping in September, the cause was almost surely a leak. But how do you find a leak in a 15-acre lake?

Town engineer Jeff Schneider started looking for the leak, occasionally dropping some milk in the water to see if it would start to swirl. People from Beaver Divers came to the lake to see if they saw anything. Nothing.

Avon resident Harry Chu found the hole recently when he was fishing near the pier at the lake.

In an e-mail, Chu wrote that he saw a leaf going in circles “like a slow draining.” Chu reached down, and could feel the lip of a hole about two inches in diameter and about 18 inches deep.

“It was great to have a different set of eyes out there,” Schneider said.

The hole has taken a good bit of water from the lake in a matter of several weeks. The 15-acre lake now is about 7 feet lower than its usual level. That’s a lot of water.

Schneider said the water finds its way into the Eagle River eventually, usually through the underground water table. He also said there isn’t any evidence the leak has created any sinkholes.

Now that the leak’s been found, it’s time to do something about it, especially since the water level’s dropped almost all the way down to the hole. A crew will try to plug the hole with some expanding foam next week. But there’s a bigger problem.

Schneider told the Avon Town Council this week that the lake’s liner needs to be replaced – it’s 30 years old or so, after all. But that’s going to be a big job.

The entire lake will have to be drained for the job, replacing the liner won’t be cheap. Schneider said the project could cost $1.5 million.

In a town that’s counting nickels, that’s going to be a tough repair to swallow. Schneider said there’s a town water fund, although the multi-year project plan will have to be re-shuffled. There’s also the prospect of finding grants from agencies including the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado River Water Conservation District to help pay for the work.

Whether or not the grants come through, the work will have to be done fairly soon. Schneider said the work will be done no later than 2013, although “there’s a glimmer of hope” the job could be done as soon as next year.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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