By early this evening, Bend’s Mirror Pond may be well on its way to Redmond and points beyond as Pacific Power and Light this morning began releasing the water behind its dam.
Harold Baughman of PP&L said the water level of the pond will be lowered slowly in an effort to limit the amount of silt sent down the river.
The pond is being drained to allow the City of Bend to take several truckloads of silt out of the pond for testing. The silt tests will tell the city if the muck in Mirror Pond has commercial value. Sale of the silt for soil could help offset the cost of dredging the pond.
Silt covers the bottom of the pond to a depth of 10 feet in places.
Draining the pond also will give· PP&L a chance to do maintenance work on the dam and to install flood gates.
Water quality in the Deschutes River below the dam is being monitored by the Department of Environmental Quality to make sure the water from the pond does not result in excessive levels of turbidity, or muddiness.
Besides causing problems for fish in the river, muddy water from tho pond could contaminate Redmond’s water supply. The City of Redmond draws some of its drinking water from the river.
The draining project, originally set for Nov. 20, was delayed by cold weather. PP&L had to wait until Central Oregon Irrigation District could turn water into its ditches. By diverting water into the irrigation system south of Bend, less water will pass through Mirror Pond, reducing the amount of mud stirred when the water level is lowered.
Bend City Police have warned residents, especially children, to stay away from the drained pond. The silt covering the pond bed is dangerous and could trap someone venturing out into it .
The draining could take as long as two days, but Baughman said he hopes the water will be lowered by Wednesday morning.
The pond will be filled again by mid-December.
Source: The Bulletin ©1978