Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Winter diving planned at Caples Lake

By
From page A1 | November 08, 2013 | 17 Comments

Faced with a time limit, the El Dorado Irrigation District Engineering Division recommended a sole source negotiated contract to replace the outlet gates at Caples Lake.

The work will be done in the winter by Syblon Reid for $329,000. The company had previously worked on the Caples Lake outlet gates installing new ones in 2008. The deadline is to get the work done before the gates are due to open in February for the spring runoff.

The gates installed in 2008 used a polyethylene/neoprene seal system. There are two gates — an upper and lower gate. The lower gate is stuck open 2.5 inches and is letting out water at the rate of 9 cubic feet per second, according to EID engineer Jake Eymann.

Replacement gates have been ordered at a cost of $11,000 and the plastic seals will be replaced with bronze seals, which will leak more but are expected to be more ruggedly dependable.

When Syblon Reid replaced the gates in 2008, the entire lake was drained and fish moved to Silver Lake. This time the gate replacement will be done by Ballard Diving, who will descend down a vertical shaft 300-400 feet long. The shaft is 5 feet by 5 feet and narrows to 2.5 feet at the gate opening. Water temperature is 32-40 degrees, Eymann said.

Director George Wheeldon remarked when this issue was brought before the Board of Directors Oct. 28 that he would have to be a skinny diver.

Eymann said there would be no tanks on the diver’s back, but rather he would be fed oxygen from the surface.

Another $42,000 goes to GEI for specialty engineering services on the project. GEI includes Dr. Sagar, a specialist in hydraulic and structural designs and selection of equipment. Sagar is chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers Gates Committee and founding chairman of the U.S. Committee on Large Dams subcommittee on Gates and Valves.

“GEI provided valuable input to this point,” Eymann said.

The repair is expected to take three weeks. Altitude of Caples Lake is 7,900 feet. The work will begin in January.

“Syblon Reid has provided invaluable input at this point,” Eymann said.

Syblon Reid will conduct traffic control and snow removal. The big tasks are bulkhead installation and removal, water control, installation and maintenance of a temporary bypass pumping system, valve house roof removal and reinstallation. Syblon Reid also has had “input” into the replacement gate design and constructability review using past knowledge of previous installation at Caples Lake.

The project was approved by the board 5-0.

Michael Raffety

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 17 comments

  • cookie65November 08, 2013 - 8:40 am

    I have been in that water in late February. Actually the creek below the north dam. I can testify that it is collllldddd!!!!!!

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 08, 2013 - 9:02 am

    ". . . will descend down a vertical shaft 300-400 feet long." Michael Raffety, did you mean to say "horizontal" as opposed to "vertical"? Caples Lake is not 300-400 feet deep.

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  • cookie65November 08, 2013 - 10:31 am

    Phil, I will add to your question. A shaft by definition is vertical. Horizontal by definition is a tunnel. So they can't descend down an tunnel. There is a word for cave exploration which includes both, 'Spelunking'.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 08, 2013 - 10:55 am

    Aside: This seems REALLY dangerous. I'd like to know more specifics on this "shaft". It seems impossible to be vertical. But if it is horizontal and under water then what protects the diver from a catastrophic "flush". It may slope at a 1 to 3 angle down the dam face.

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  • cookie65November 08, 2013 - 10:36 am

    George Wheeldon used to teach geology at UBR (university behind Raley's). He was an excellent teacher of geology. All of you who believe we can control the weather should never take any geology courses.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 08, 2013 - 10:46 am

    I had the pleasure of taking a geology course from Mr. Wheeldon. I had the pleasure of interacting with Director Wheeldon. I expect that Dr. Coco will be as professional.

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  • cookie65November 08, 2013 - 10:59 am

    Did you take any field trips out to Nevada? Or any of the high mountain lakes?

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  • cookie65November 08, 2013 - 10:42 am

    Phil, I mentioned on fencepost once that the geologic record doesn't support the man-made global warming fraud. One of the braindead lemmings told me, "it is meteorology idiot not geology". I was forced to inform them that the earths historical climate is recorded in the rocks and ice not the clouds and sky. It truly is amazing what you run into that passes for education among the indoctrinated. And are the ever arrogant about their ignorance.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 08, 2013 - 10:58 am

    It's time for an autumn drive up to Caples to look around . . .

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  • cookie65November 08, 2013 - 11:02 am

    If you like fresh crawdads, take some string and some bacon. Caples has the best crawdads anywhere.

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  • rodNovember 09, 2013 - 9:57 am

    farmers use big sheets of visqueen with a simple flap design to control water flow... its cheap to replace. Why not use a scaled up cold water carbon-fiber reinforced neoprene with flap on a 'roller'? Much cheaper than all the monkey motion described above and easy to replace. Phil, no question, a 300 ft tunnel-shaft ant-trap sounds overly risky... just my 2 'sense'.

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  • Redrobin12November 10, 2013 - 11:33 am

    Let's get this straight. The gates put in 5 years have already failed and no one seems to question the $371,000 being spent not including overruns to fix something that should have been done correctly in the first place. Not to mention Syblon and Reed are going back to capture more money from a previous project that has turned into a debacle. ( Lately it seems almost all work goes to Syblon and Reed. What happen to open bidding? strange) perhaps some new fresh eyes might catch another screwup. Also who is responsible for not bringing this up sooner. A full stroke testing of the outlet gates every year or so could have caught this. Also FERC mandates outlet gate testing for this very reason. Lets wait until the last minute to find this out? Someone at EID is asleep at the wheel again...

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 10, 2013 - 12:07 pm

    Redrobin12, it is likely that what you characterize as "last minute" also coincides with lowest lake level and safest working conditions. EID has an array of Syblon and Reed project outcomes to measure against other winning contractors' outcomes. Syblon and Reed wins hands down.

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  • FrankNovember 10, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    It's called "job security".

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  • Redrobin12November 10, 2013 - 8:46 pm

    Phil, seems like you have no issue with the ratepayers money fixing things again. What happened to accountability? Snow, ice, cold water, great time to go diving. The article did not mention lake levels as the reason it needs to be done now it was the expected required outflows required in Feburary. I have a strange suspection this is being done on a emergency basis. Same thing they did when they drained the lake allowing them to bypass all environmental review, Fish rescue and bidding processes. The only reason a fish rescue was done was due to some of us concerned citizens speaking out bringing the proposed fish kill the the forefront. Those outlet gates had been in service for years and yes they needed to be replaced but it wasn't like they were going to fail any time soon.but I guess one makes up a story that its unsafe the people won't question it. By the way just beacuse a contractor does a good job on a few projects doesn't mean that's a reason for no bid reviews. Sounds like someone has their hands in someone's pocket. Never, right? Your family name is tied to Many projects in this county. You should know better.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 10, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    Sample of Redrobin12's logic - "Your family name is tied to Many projects in this county. You should know better." I cannot possibly imagine the logic trail inside Red's head that connects Caples Lake outlet gate knowledge to my family name. Thinking back I do recall Cousin Doug donating a lot of time and work on the Finnon Lake rebuild but that's unrelated to Caples. But is it possible that Red's head looks identical to Jon's or Greg's? Here's a tip, Red. Before getting your knickers in a knot over this article's incomplete reporting of who, what, where, when and why and lodging unfounded allegations of incompetence and corruption make a call to EID. . . . . OH! . . . . Right . . . . Red's head would just hear a lie. . . . that's all they do . . . . because that's what their new Board member, Prada, has been saying for years. It got him elected. Tip #2 - It's been well over a year since I have spoken to either Doug or Brian. Tip #3 - Go to bed, Red.

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  • Redrobin12November 10, 2013 - 11:49 pm

    You totally missed the point Phil, the point I was making was giving all or almost all your work to one contractor not only looks bad but it makes it impossible for fair and honest bidding which can save us ratepayers a few bucks. Oh and your right Syblon Reid does such a great job their going back to do it over again... Sorry you have no interaction with Brian or Doug. Perhaps there something to that. Sounds like your a little sore with Prada winning. By the way I don't know much about him and had no part in the vote as I live up the hill. Back to ya, have your milk toast Phil and go to bed!

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