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$17 million repair project is set for the Lake Manatee Dam

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Manatee County is set to embark on a massive improvement and reconstruction project for the Lake Manatee Dam. 

The structure, which was built in 1965, has experienced normal wear and tear that has left it in dire need of repair.

More than 300,000 Suncoast residents rely on the dam for drinking water.   The structure supplies more than 34.9 million gallons of water each day, but officials say its age is impacting its performance.

To remedy the concern, a $17 million repair project has been approved for early 2018. It includes repairing portions of the dam where soil has been washed away, draining the spillway and instilling of a smaller temporary dam to hold that water. The plan also calls for a cut off wall to help hold and stop the water's flow. 

"It's a large investment in infrastructure for the rate payers of Manatee County, but they get their drinking water service from the dam," said Mark Simpson from the county's Utility Department. "Of course you we don't want to put anybody at risk from a failure."

Officials say while unlikely, if a dam failure did occur, it could result in flooding down stream which would impact homes.