Heavy rain affects dam, fishing at Lake Alvin

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Spring flooding has had an impact on runoff and roads in and around Lake Alvin, southeast of Sioux Falls.   Engineers have been keeping tabs on the lake’s earthen dam that’s taken on a lot of water this week.   But park officials say the dam is in no danger of washing away.

A stretch of Highway 135 along Lake Alvin has reopened after it was closed earlier this week out of a concern that the rushing water might overwhelm the culverts underneath.   And while traffic by the park is moving again, anglers and swimmers will still have to stay away for now.

The earthen dam at Lake Alvin is so saturated, some of the soil has been sliding into the bottom of the spillway.

“So it’s depositing some soil there, so we’re kind of monitoring it,”  District Park Supervisor Jason Baumann said.

Despite the sliding soil, District Park Supervisor Jason Baumann says the dam, built back in the 1950s, remains safe.

“In the past, it’s seen some large rainfall, larger than we’ve experienced now and that dam has held up just fine,” Baumann said.

Once the weather dries out, crews will likely have to do some repair work and shore-up the dam to protect it from future flooding.

“We’ll have to stabilize this hillside for sure, we’ll make some repairs to the spillway since we’re experiencing some issues from the hillside, but we’ll go ahead and get those repaired,” Baumann said.

Other parts of the lake are off-limits to visitors.  The beach is closed because of runoff bringing too much bacteria into the lake.   Local anglers are disappointed because the fishing area’s also closed because the water’s too high.

“This is a good time of year to fish.  The fish are nice and fresh so yeah, it’s too bad.  Well, it will be another couple of weeks, maybe,” Stanley Olson of Harrisburg said.

For now, Lake Alvin visitors will have to wait patiently until the rain lets up and the water finally goes down.

Lake Alvin tests the water weekly for E. coli.  They’ll reopen the beach once the water is deemed safe again for swimmers.

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