No problems with Heffley dam during spring flooding

Heffley Lake dam at spillway. (Image: Mel Rothenburger file photo)

HEFFLEY LAKE — There were no problems with the Heffley Lake dam during spring high water, says Darren Bennett, senior regional dam safety officer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Bennett provided an overview of dam safety monitoring to the TNRD’s Emergency Management and Protective Services Committee this week.

He said their are 450 private regulated dams in B.C. and the owners of dams are responsible for their safe operation. The Heffley dam is operated by the Heffley Irrigation District.

“We do depend on the public for their observations,” Bennett said.

His job is to enforce regulations and make sure dam safety reviews are carried out on schedule.

I asked him specifically about the Heffley Lake dam and he replied that while there was some increase to seepage, water from the lake didn’t over-run the top of the spillway and there were no concerns.

“All dams leak,” he commented, because none is water tight. The issue is the degree of seepage.

Bennett said a safety review of the Heffley dam scheduled for this year will be done as planned. Owners of dams now pay for the costs of periodic safety reviews, which are done by independent engineers.