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Lake Decatur

Lake Decatur water levels are expected to return to normal after a dam gate was repaired, city officials said Friday.

DECATUR — Workers were able to raise a dam gate for Lake Decatur, allowing for water levels to return to normal, according to city officials.

"Since the gate is now working, the level of Lake Decatur will be raised back to around 614 feet above mean sea level, which is the desired level as dredging continues," Interim City Manager Billy Tyus said in a news release.

The gate will be inspected to determine if there are any repairs needed, Tyus said.

City staff members were making winter preparations and lake level calibrations Thursday when the north bascule gate stopped operating, Tyus said. Water began rapidly flowing out of the lake.

Other gates were adjusted to reduce the amount of water flowing out of the lake. Downstream landowners and Archer Daniels Midland Co. officials were notified about the increased river flow, Tyus said. ADM operates its own water treatment facility connected to Lake Decatur.

Lake Decatur, operated by the city, is the primary source of drinking water for Decatur and Mount Zion residents and is heavily used by industry. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock has been performing a $91 million dredging project to increase the capacity of the lake, after droughts in 2011 and 2012 brought the lake's water storage to dangerously low levels.

City officials say they expect the dredging project to be completed by the end of 2019.

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Contact Tom Lisi at (217) 421-6949. Follow him on Twitter: @tommylisi

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Decatur Reporter

Decatur reporter for the Herald & Review.

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