By: Caleb Shenk
The Goshen Dam Pond has a new look: cracked mud, dried aquatic plants and fish carcasses cover the area that a month ago, was under water. The unfamiliar appearance is due to a pond draining deemed necessary in order to repair a critical toe drain inside the dam.
Ronda DeCaire, director of Elkhart County Parks explained that the toe drain is a perforated underground PVC pipe that collects water soaking into the east bank of the pond and diverts it back into the river downstream, preventing seepage and erosion on the populated river-front.
The water level in the pond was dropped five feet in order to do the repair, reducing the river flowing into the dam, which runs next to the college cabin, into a small stream. The Millrace, which is normally fed by the dam, is now a dry riverbed.
Construction began yesterday, upon the request of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources which inspects the dam every two years for safety and functionality.
While draining the pond, workers discovered what looked like a pickup truck sitting at the bottom of the riverbed. It was filled with two feet of mud and, according to divers who investigated it, had been there for quite a while, unbeknownst to people canoeing and kayaking above it.
The Goshen Police Department was able to identify the truck as one that had been reported stolen five years ago. After being heisted from the Old Bag Factory, it had likely been dumped there soon after.
Goshen fire trucks eventually towed the truck out of the mud using a cable, and the police will continue to further investigate the situation.
Selge Construction, the company doing the repair, estimates that it will take 30 to 60 days to complete the project, but DeCaire is optimistic that it will be closer to the short end of the estimate.
In the meantime, DeCaire warns college students to stay away from the dam while it is under construction. Users of the Millrace trail will have to alter their routes until the dam is fixed and the water starts flowing again.