Leaking dam threatens Henrico lake, wildlife

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A lake in Henrico's West End is rapidly running dry, and it's not just because of the hot weather. It's because the lake has actually sprung a leak. It's happening in the body of water between Roslyn Hills Drive and Twin Lake Lane. A solution may be at least several days away.

It's officially called "Shadow Pond", but it's looking more like a swamp this week. People fish here, but now the fish are in danger. They just don't know it yet.

Sue Noftsinger looks out at the water every morning. But this week, something was noticeably different.

"It sounded like a waterfall," Noftsinger said.

It wasn't long until Sue realized the dam at the South end of the lake, appeared to be crumbling, spewing lake water into a nearby stream.

"Never seen anything like it," she said.

The result has been a steady drop in the water level all week long. At the moment, there's little that can stop the flow.

"My concern is, are we gonna have an empty hole here? What's gonna happen?" Noftsinger said.

What's also troubling is the inevitable effect on wildlife. The geese may find another spot. But the fish are in big trouble.

"If they don't want to fix it, it'll go dry," said neighbor Dick Cole.

Cole has a background in engineering, and pointed out the source of the leak appears to be a busted drainage pipe. He believes the water will have to go all the way down before the owner can work on it. The problem is the owner of the dam is a 93-year-old woman who just returned from the hospital.

"She knows it's there, she got a letter. She doesn't know who will pay for it or who will help her if she has to," Cole said.

Whatever it costs ultimately will be paid for with private money, because the lake is not public property. The question is who will do it...and will it happen before it's too late?

"It's our neighborhood, it's what makes this place beautiful, it's why we like it so much," Noftsinger said.

For now, the lake will continue to lose water, and even if the pipe is capped, it'll take a whole lot of rain to bring it back to life.

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