HIGH AND DRY
Lake Nancy residents wonder where the water went
PROVIDENCE, N.Y. » Folks around Lake Nancy can identify with Moses when he crossed the Red Sea.
Their properties now look out on muddy flats resembling a barren moonscape, after water was drained away.
The recent drawdown was needed because of repair work being done around a dam, built around 1910 and replaced in 1976, which makes the lake possible.
“I got there and was completely dumbfounded,” said Carolyn Marcantonio of Glens Falls, who owns a camp on Lake Nancy. “What happened to the lake? It’s crazy. It’s the most bizarre thing to have a lake with no water in it.”
Lake Nancy, off Wileytown Road, is in the town of Providence, southwest of Lake Desolation. About 115 families own property there including many summer camps. The large body of water is a popular source of recreation for boaters and anglers.
The lake is owned by the town and managed by the Lake Nancy Park District, comprised of local residents.
On Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day, a nearly threeinch wide whirlpool was spotted near a dam at the lake’s outlet, which feeds into Cadman Creek.
Officials contacted the Latham-based engineering firm, CT Male Associates, and water was lowered, with state Department of Environmental Conservation approval, so two holes could be repaired between the concrete dam and an adjacent gatehouse.
However, the problems weren’t over.
Soon after, more significant seepage was detected in an earthen embankment on the opposite side of the concrete dam. This, too, was fixed, but officials still noticed water exiting the dam area where it’s not supposed to.
It’s now believed the latest source of trouble has been pinpointed, and plans call for repairs so the lake can begin refilling and return to normal levels next spring, before the summer vacation season.
Work is being done by the Gansevoort-based firm, Grout Tech Saratoga.
“We should be good after next week,” said Richard Wakeman, CT Male vice president-civil engineering. “I’m confident that we’ve identified the leaks.”
Leaks haven’t occurred in the concrete dam itself, only in spots near it, so a new dam isn’t needed, said Gerard McKenna, Park District co-founder.
McKenna said the final repair bill will likely come to more than $100,000. The expense is shared by residents who live around the lake and comprise the Park District, a special taxing entity created in 1976 when the latest dam was built.
Tax bills vary depending on each property’s assessed value. The average property owner can expect to pay a few hundred dollars for each of the next several years to cover the cost of repairs, McKenna said.
When the Park District was created, property owners were taxed each year and money was set aside for repairs as needed. But state officials said this wasn’t legal, so taxes aren’t collected unless a repair project takes place, such as this year’s, McKenna said.
Property owners were notified about the lake drawdown, but some seasonal residents or people who only visit occasionally, might not have known about it, he said.
McKenna said the first dam, which created Lake Nancy, was built in the early 20th century to supply electricity for a nearby sanatorium run by Saratoga County for tuberculosis patients.
Docks at Lake Nancy have been left high and dry following a water drawndown necessitated by repairs around a dam.
Water has been drawn down at Lake Nancy in Providence. Water levels normally reach the tree line at right.
An aerial view of Lake Nancy in Providence. Water exiting the lake flows into Cadman Creek and eventually reaches the Great Sacandaga Lake in Broadalbin.