Top award goes to Lake Delhi dam reconstruction project design - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Top award goes to Lake Delhi dam reconstruction project design

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The Lake Delhi dam reconstruction project has earned the 2016 Grand Conceptor, the highest award given in the annual engineering excellence competition, sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Iowa.    

The annual ACE competition recognizes Iowa engineering projects which demonstrate exceptional degrees of innovation, achievement, value and complexity. 

Highlighted by Iowa's first labyrinth spillway, the innovative Stanley Consultants design features an accordion-shaped spillway, which triples water handling capacity, compared to a conventional spillway resign. 

While Stanley's labyrinth spillway is the first in Iowa, it is one of the largest in the Midwest, where labyrinth spillway designs are somewhat of a rarity.

The labyrinth design enables the dam to pass high volumes of water across a short distance, without using mechanical gates or electrical systems.

The highly anticipated labyrinth spillway is the crowning jewel in  a six-year Lake Delhi comeback.

A devastating 12-inch rainfall in 2010 weakened the road over the old earthen dam. The lake water levels rose an incredible 8 and a half feet by that Saturday morning in late July.

In a matter of hours, floodwaters went over the top of the old dam, and, in doing so, began releasing millions of gallons of water downstream. The popular recreational lake was literally drained to nothing more than a small stream of water and 450 acres of muck.

Supporters of Lake Delhi point out that during the past six years, the community of Delhi, with a population of just 470, and the entirety of Delaware County, felt the negative economic impact caused by the loss of the lake.

During that time, property tax revenue plummeted, property values plunged. Lake construction projects pretty much slowed to a stop. income to local businesses who depended on the lake traffic simply dried up. All that is behind the lake now.

This past July, to celebrate the amazing comeback, exactly six years after the fateful day, Lake Delhi residents held a community-wide celebration to mark completion of the new dam and rebirth of the lake. It also marked the restoration and rebirth of the small lakeside community.  

It was a very long road back, but, the community was determined to rebuild the dam and restore the 9-mile-long lake to glory.

Supporters raised some $1.7 million as seed money for the rebuilding. Lakefront property owners even taxed themselves to the highest extent possible for a 20-year, $6 million dam reconstruction bond.

Stanley Consultants played a key role in the nearly 13-million dollar project. The company navigated a wide array of classification, permits, and funding requirements, which took four years, followed by two years of actual construction.

The recent reopening of the lake has reinvigorated the community. Residents say the lake is again a beehive of recreational activity. New  construction has resumed in earnest, and local businesses are struggling just to keep up with demand.

The first true test of the new dam came this past October, only weeks after the lake reopened. The lake endured its fifth largest recorded flood, but, the automated gates performed flawlessly and the floodwater passed with no significant rise in the water level near the dam.

Lake Delhi is back and the work of Stanley Consultants is being recognized the best of the best for this year.

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