Truesdale Lake  

South Salem, New York

Earmark request for the Truesdale Lake Dam and Bridge

This letter was sent August 26, 2021 from Scot Evans (lake resident) to U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney’s office.



Dear Mr. Klepeis,

Thank you and Representative Maloney for taking my August 25th call to discuss our critical project in the Town of Lewisboro. We request that the Truesdale Lake 100-year-old dam, north and south embankments, bridge, spillway, control tower, sluice gate and low water outlet be earmarked as a priority for repair and reconstruction and that we be placed in the queue for infrastructure funding when applicable or available.

Truesdale Lake ( is 82.3 acres in area, one mile long and 3/8 mile across at its widest point and contains about 100 million gallons of water during its summer level. The watershed, mostly east of the lake from Ridgefield’s West Mountain down to Pumping Station Swamp, is huge. The watershed to lake ratio is 28.7 to 1. The average annual rainfall that drains into the lake is 1.6 billion gallons or 4 million gallons per day. The lake turns over (hydraulic residence time) 16.2 times per year or once every 22 days. The water traveling over the spillway (small blue spike below at the “beak”) enters the Waccabuc River and flows into the Cross River Reservoir. The dam is the flat horn on the far left side of both bathymetry shots below:

Truesdale Lake Map, bathymetry contour
Truesdale Lake Map, contour by ELS NOV 2017 with 3 ft drawdown exposure.PNG

The dam, built c. 1920, is in bad shape. NYS DEC regulates and inspects our dam. The last DEC inspection occurred twelve years ago on 6/18/2009 and is attached. The training walls around the primary spillway are cratered and undermined from years of flowing water erosion. The embankments, rip rap and geotextile fabric have deteriorated. The south embankment is heavily eroded and no longer has a smooth angle down to the river. The low water outlet is blocked. The 14-foot control tower is flooded and the submerged sluice gate and hand wheel are inoperable.

Control Towers for all dams must remain sealed and dry. This photo shows the flooded control tower with the submerged sluice gate control wheel 14 feet down the tower shaft:

control wheel – large.jpg

The shot below shows the partially submerged tower chamber when I entered it with a compressed air tank to insure I had breathable air down there. The water level in the flooded tower and chamber matches the lake’s water level, and this shot was taken in the winter when we drew the lake down to three feet below the spillway deck (to compact the lakebed and expose the weed tubers to subfreezing temperatures).

lower vault – large (2).jpg

These diagrams show the 250-foot-long dam, road, bridge, primary and secondary spillways and some of the color-coded remediations recommended to repair structures and reinforce the embankments:

Dam – deficiencies.jpg
Dam – embankment rehab.PNG

This photo shows the siphons we installed since we cannot open the low water outlet to protect the dam before severe rainfall events or to draw the lake down in the winter.

Siphons med format (2).jpg

The shot above shows the intake sections of two 12″ and one 6″ diameter siphons with the road and bridge over them.

The shot below shows the discharge sections of these siphons into the river at the base of the spillway under the bridge.

Siphons 800 kb (1).JPG

This photo below shows the top of the control tower and the eroded irregular south embankment section after cutting down invasive vegetation, bushes and trees. Roots and water have infiltrated the embankments.

Dam shaved 21 MAY 2021 (3).jpg

This photo shows the access hatch at the top of the control tower, looking down the flooded shaft, with my reflection in the water below:

Valve Box – large.jpg

The homes downstream from the dam will take the following route to the Cross River Reservoir in the event they are carried away by 100 million gallons of water should the dam suffer a failure:

Truesdale Lake to Cross River Reservoir route.jpg

There are two primary associations that maintain this lake. The Truesdale Lake Property Owners Association (TLPOA) owns the dam and controls the northern half of the lake where homes are on a community well. The Truesdale Estates Association (TEA) owns the lakebed and islands and controls the southern half of the lake where homes operate their own individual wells. The Lewisboro Police Department and the South Salem Fire District are very interested in staying up to date with the structural integrity of the dam. And finally, the Lewisboro Highway Department maintains the road and guard rails over the bridge and dam. If the dam suffers a breach, these last three entities will need to be involved.

The following people are copied with this request:

Nicholas Fiegoli, TLPOA President
Robert Cummings, TEA President
Allison Settineri, TLPOA Vice President
Howard Citron, TEA Vice President
John Gusmano, Chairman, Lake Management Committee
David Alfano, Chief, Lewisboro Police Department
Michael Lombardi, Fire Commissioner, South Salem Fire District
Peter Ripperger, Superintendent, Lewisboro Highway Department

Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.


Scot Evans

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