Prep work begins on compromised Manatee County dam

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - Crews could begin repairs Tuesday on a Manatee County dam that engineers say could fail due to erosion.

Monday workers slowly began bringing the level of water down in Lake Manatee from 40 feet to 38 feet. That's only a precautionary measure; but without immediate intervention, engineers predict the dam could fail and an uncontrolled release of water into the Manatee River could threaten nearby homes.

So far no evacuations have been ordered for people living near the dam.

Engineers are using ground-penetrating technology to determine where exactly the compromised areas are. “They will take that information and devise a fix for the plan, and we'll get started in March on the repair work. We have a nice window during the dry season, that's why it's full speed ahead,” says water treatment supervisor Bruce MacLeod.

It could take up to 45 days and millions of dollars to repair the problems.

We'll have more on this effort tonight on ABC 7 News at 5 & 6.