MWRA to lower level of the Sudbury Reservoir for dam work this fall

Above: The open channel after being drained for dam work last year (contributed photo)

You might have heard the announcement last week that the MWRA will lower the level of the Foss Reservoir in Framingham next month to conduct dam maintenance. Turns out they’ll be doing the same thing to the Sudbury Reservoir in Southborough.

The work in Southborough is slated to begin this fall after work on the Foss Reservoir dam is complete. MWRA spokesperson Len Cawley said the work is part of a statewide effort to update existing dams to modern standards.

In Southborough, two dams will be upgraded: the Fayville Dam at the MWRA facility off Boston Road, and the smaller Deerfoot Road dam. In order to do the work, Cawley said the MWRA will lower the water level in both the Sudbury Reservoir and in the open channel west of Deerfoot Road.

Cawley said while the Sudbury Reservoir will be lowered by about five feet, an amount he said would be “noticeable,” the lowering of water in the open channel will be even more dramatic.

“Water upstream of the (Deerfoot Road) dam will be drained to a trickle,” he said.

Some of you might remember the MWRA lowered the water in the open channel last year to inspect the dam. Cawley said the water will be drained even more this time. “We’ve never gone this low before,” he said.

The water will be lowered gradually, so fish that live in the open channel will have an opportunity to follow the water downstream, but Cawley acknowledged there might be some losses.

“I think it will be a buffet for the herons,” he said.

The work is expected to begin in late September or early October, but could be delayed if work on the Foss Reservoir takes longer than expected or if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Once the work starts, water levels are expect to remain low for a couple of months.

To see photos of the last time the MWRA lowered the water in the open channel, check out this post.

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