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Rogers Lake Group Meets To Discuss Dam, Weeds

Old Lyme — A newly organized group of Rogers Lake residents met Tuesday evening at the Rogers Lake Community Center to discuss a leaking dam and the possible use of herbicides on invasive weeds in the lake.

Six residents attended, including Lynn Pekkanen, who headed the meeting for the newly formed Concerned Families group, and her husband, John Pekkanen. Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Board of Finance member David Woolley, who are running for first selectman and selectman, respectively, also attended.

Residents expressed frustration with the town for the delay in fixing the dam on Town Woods Road, repairs they said were ordered by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Residents said they believed the leaky dam contributed to a low level of water in the lake, which they said caused neighboring wells to go dry and nurtured the growth of the invasive variable watermilfoil by exposing the weeds to sunlight.

Town Sanitarian Ron Rose said last week that the dam has been leaking for about 15 years.

Residents said that two local men recently used a sheet of plywood to temporarily repair the leak.

Reemsnyder told the residents that a bid was out for an engineer to fix the dam, but the first quote was too high and the Board of Selectmen was awaiting other bids. She said that in hindsight, the board perhaps should have hurried to fix the dam, and said she would check today to see where the bidding process stands.

“Somebody in the government's got to start doing something about it,” said resident Irv LaMay. LaMay said he had never seen the lake's water level as low as it is now in his 40 years living in town.

Residents also discussed their worries over the possible use of the herbicide Diquat dibromide to curb the milfoil and whether lawn fertilizers are running off into the lake and enhancing the growth of the milfoil.

A 2003 study on the lake showed that it was healthy apart from the weeds.

“People's habits are about to tip the lake in the opposite direction,” said resident Dale Miller.

Miller questioned what the next step in the process of discussing herbicide use would be. He and others said the Rogers Lake Authority's public hearing on Sept. 13 was inconclusive because although the authority collected ballots to gauge residents' views on herbicide use, the results were never announced and the minutes to the meeting have not yet been filed at the Lyme and Old Lyme town halls.

Authority chairman Fred Holth has said the next meeting will be held on Nov. 1.
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