By Jim Hagerty
Slightly low water levels on the Rock River downtown were, again, a topic of discussion Tuesday, June 10, but ComEd says the Fordham Dam is not the cause.
According to Steve Lucas, of Rock River Enterprises, water levels measured 701.9 (701.9 feet above sea level), according to a static gauge at the dam Tuesday afternoon. That’s below the 702.5 mark ComEd aims for to maintain a recreational water level downtown.
“I find it ironic that this coincides with (ComEd’s) hazardous waste cleanup down here at the dam,” Lucas said in a text message Tuesday. “If the purpose of Fordham Dam is to maintain a recreational pool when will (they) start doing that? With gates open two-and-a-half-feet, it’s quite clear that an operator should be here tomorrow and close the gates to bring the water level to 70 2 .5. It is June 10 and (ComEd has) us at August water levels.”
ComEd External Affairs Manager Paul Callighan said he’s noticed slight inconsistencies in levels downtown, yet maintains the problem is not with the Fordham Dam.
“I’ve found nothing that would indicate a problem downtown,” Callighan said. “There’s no problem at Auburn Street. There may be problems upstream near Rockton that’s causing low levels, but nothing down here. The differences could also be because of inconsistencies in the river bed, but we have not had a malfunction with the dam. There’s nothing near the dam that would negatively impact water levels.”
Wednesday, June 11, a gauge on the dam read 702. A static dam at the edge of Davis Park, indicated a water level of 701.8.
“We will make sure we are at 702.5 within a week,” Callighan said.
Calligan also said low water levels downtown are not related the environmental cleanup project near the Fordham Dam.
ComEd is removing contaminants and debris on both sides of river near the dam. The cleanup will also remove contaminants identified from samples of the fill material.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Site Remediation Program will oversee the project.
The cleanup is part of a preliminary plan to develop the area near the dam into a riverfront park that would include white-water rafting and other activities.