After the new spillway and dam construction was completed at the Augusta City Lake, one unexpected problem was discovered. The spillway – a large concrete structure on the southwest side of the reservoir – casts a glare on adjacent homes when the sun is shining.
City engineer Larry Henry with MKEC said due to the size of the structure, a curing compound was used on the structure that was white to reflect light to reflect light and prevent excess heating while the concrete cured. That white tint is at least partially responsible for the glare.
Councilor Sue Jones said she had been in a home in the area when the glare was at its worst and the problem was real and significant. She has worked to get a coating put on the spillway to counteract the glare.
But a few on the council have argued that the coating would be ineffective and would require frequent maintenance.
Councilor Mike Rawlings said that it was often difficult to paint or stain concrete because the curing compounds contain paraffin wax that makes it difficult to form a bond between the coating and the concrete. Henry confirmed that the curing compound used on the spillway did contain paraffin wax.
The coating options have also been unpopular on the council because the costs have ranged between $25,000 and $50,000.
Mayor Kristey Williams suggested attacking the problem from a different angle.
“Maybe we could use landscaping or plant a few trees to break up the glare,” Williams said.
Rawlings said he also had considered using trees and shrubs to block the glare.
Jones said she could accept that solution. Henry said MKEC has landscape specialists who could work on a proposal for the city. Councilor Mike Wallace also pointed out that Kansas State Extension Agent Larry Crouse could be helpful in determining what plants would work as a solution. He made a motion to request MKEC and Larry Crouse be consulted on a plan to determine the feasibility of using landscaping to address the problem of a glare off of the spillway.
The motion passed unanimously.