LCA Board Approves Flood Prevention Plan

On February 9 the Lutheran Camp Association (LCA) Board of Directors approved a plan to prevent Camp’s Inn and Wigwam basements from flooding due to the rising water table. The rising lake levels are causing the water tables to rise and, if no action is taken, Camp could suffer significant damage to its buildings due to flooding. The approved plan is estimated to cost up to $175,000 and will include a professional dewatering system, gutters and other run-off water prevention measures. 

To watch a video of Executive Director, Chip May, explain the flood threat and prevention plan click here.

Flood History & Solutions

In 1986 the Wigwam and Inn basements suffered flooding as the lake levels set a record high. A dewatering system was installed, but it was not used since the lake levels went down 10 inches the next year. That system was disconnected and removed as Camp’s buildings were renovated  and enlarged in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. 

In January of 2019 we started to experience flooding in the Wigwam’s elevator shaft (the lowest point in Camp’s buildings). During the summer of 2019 we had a significant rain event that caused flooding from run-off water (water from outside the buildings that came in) and from water coming up through cracks in the Inn’s concrete basement floor. Since that rain event in July, we have had water coming up from numerous locations in the Inn basement. In December of 2019 during a high wave period we experienced flooding in the Wigwam basement as water came up through cracks in the concrete floor. (The pressure from the waves caused the water table to temporarily rise.)

Since this past summer we have done the following:

  • Waterproof sealed the entire mechanical room and pump room in the Inn basement.
  • Waterproof sealed cracks in the basement floors and walls of the Inn and Wigwam.
  • Installed a wellpoint (a 7 foot metal straw with a screen on the bottom that connects to the pump) and pump to vacuum up water from the water table around the Wigwam elevator shaft. The shaft was then waterproof sealed.  
  • Installed a wellpoint and pump in the Inn’s mechanical room to vacuum up water from the water table underneath that room. 

When we experienced the flooding in the Wigwam and Inn over the past few months, the level of the water table was just below the Inn’s basement floor and four to five inches below the Wigwam basement. (Water table levels are generally a few inches above the lake levels as water from the water table flows into the lake.) It is notable that Camp has experienced flooding in its basements when the water table is still below the concrete floor. 


Projections & Threat Assessment

The current United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACOE Projections) projected lake levels could put the water table almost a foot above the top of the Inn basement floor and 7 inches above the Wigwam’s floor. The threat is three-fold: 

  1. With basements that have portions that are over 70 years old and full of cracks, we could have water coming through the cracks. While we have sealed some cracks, there could be some cracks that one could not see since they are under walls. 
  2. The concrete slabs that make up the basement floor could actually buckle and break due to the water pressure from the rising water table.
  3. With the ground saturated around the buildings, an intense rain event could cause flooding at the areas where it slopes into Wigwam and Inn basements. 

All of these could result in flooding that could lead to damage to the mechanical functions, equipment and supplies that are in the basement’s mechanical rooms, laundry rooms, program and archives areas. This flooding could also lead to mold and mildew throughout the buildings. 


The Flood Prevention Plan

The plan approved by the LCA Board relies mostly on a large dewatering plan. The dewatering plan involves a large pump that is connected to wellpoints (15 – 20 feet deep) and pipes that circumvent the Wigwam and the north and south sides of the Inn basement. This system would vacuum out groundwater well below the foundation of the Inn, Wigwam and Craft shop basements. The plan also involves installing gutters and improved pumpage of rain water away from the building. Finally, the septic tanks will be reinforced so they do not leak and the parking lot will have additional grading done to fill in low spots where standing water collects. 

With the lake levels and the corresponding water tables projected to start going back up in mid-March we are starting work on this project immediately. Camp intends to have the plan implemented as soon as possible so that we can welcome guests to Camp for the start of the 2020 season. The LCA board has approved up to $175,000 from Camp’s savings for this project. In March, at its meeting, the LCA board will determine the details of a fundraising effort to help pay for the work. 


What about the shoreline?

Camp’s shoreline has been holding up well this winter. The work that was done this fall and early winter has helped protect the shoreline. We are currently working with SmithGroup, our shoreline engineers, to determine if our rock revetments need to have rocks added to them in light of the record-setting lake level projection. They are also looking into a temporary boardwalk railing barrier to reduce the amount of water coming over the boardwalk. Camp plans to address these issues before the start of the season as well. 

Please keep Camp Arcadia’s ministry and its leadership in your prayers as we work to address the flooding concerns. 

5 Responses

  1. Chip & Franco,
    As one who has experienced all of this 1st hand, you have addressed this right on.
    Give thanks and Glory to God that your work at the water front was done and completed.

  2. Thank you for everything you are doing to preserve Camp Arcadia for the future and may God bless Camp Arcadia forever!

  3. Thank you Chip for being so proactive in trying to correct the flooding problem. Your good work on the shoreline is another example of your forward thinking and action on problems. May God continue to guide you with keen insight as you work in preserving Camp Arcadia for God’s ministry that you do so well.

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