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Past Issues

Mill Pond Water Level Will Be Lowered Dec 11, 2017

Posted On: Sunday, December 10, 2017

As many of you are aware, the Town has experienced frazil ice blocking the Beaver River upstream of the Thornbury Mill Pond, which at times has led to the flooding of homes in Clarksburg.

Mill Pond Water Level Will Be Lowered Dec 11, 2017

The Town has worked closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA) to sign a three year agreement to determine whether lowering the water level of the Thornbury Mill Pond during the winter months will prevent flooding. An agreement was signed on November 1, 2017. This year the water level will be lowered on Monday, December 11th, 2017.


Past experience and local knowledge seems to indicate anecdotally that frazil ice blockage will not occur when the water level is lowered. However, this has yet to be proven under study conditions, hence the proposed 3-year pilot test. Working in partnership with the Town and the GSCA, the MNRF will lower the water level in the Mill Pond one metre below the summer level for a three year period to determine whether this is effective in permitting the frazil ice to flow unrestricted through the troublesome areas of the Beaver River, the Thornbury Mill Pond and the lower reaches of the Beaver River to Georgian Bay.

The Town is also negotiating a three year compensation agreement for losses incurred by the micro-generator operator at the dam for the period of time that the dam will be lowered. It is the Town’s hope that this pilot will show that lowering water levels will be effective in preventing flooding in the area, and we look forward to the results of this test as we move into year 3 of the pilot.

Reg Russwurm, Director of Infrastructure and Public Works

Frazil ice is a collection of loose, randomly oriented needle-shaped ice crystals in water. It resembles slush and has the appearance of being slightly oily when seen on the surface of water. It sporadically forms in open, turbulent, supercooled water, which means that it usually forms in rivers, lakes and oceans, on clear nights when the weather is colder, and air temperature reaches −6 °C (21 °F) or lower. Frazil ice is the first stage in the formation of sea ice.

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