Salt Lake City

Little Cottonwood Canyon’s Cecret Lake dam undergoes repairs

The aging Cecret Lake dam, located in Albion Basin of Little Cottonwood Canyon, will be repaired over the next 30 days by the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities.


Public Utilities maintains the dam as part of its water supply and watershed management. The first phase of construction started on September 24th. The Cecret Lake Trail will be closed from the trailhead to the Albion Basin Campground to allow for heavy equipment access and to protect public safety. Expected completion is the last week of October.

The iconic earthen dam was built in the 1920s, and is showing its age. “The dam has deteriorated to the point where we must make these repairs before winter. The dam repair will protect public health and safety, and ensure water can continue to be stored in the reservoir in the future,” said Laura Briefer, Director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities.

Updating the dam requires that the project meet more modern state construction codes. Concrete and grout will be used, and crews will take strict precautions to keep uncured concrete from the waters of the riparian area. The concrete structure will be covered with earth when completed.

The reservoir currently drains to the natural lake, below the outlet of the dam. The dam will be 12 feet wide, and repairs will not change the level of the lake. There are no fish in the lake, and crews will use best environmental practices to maintain and support the surroundings.

Several agencies are cooperating on the project and have reviewed or permitted the operation, including: Utah State Office of Dam Safety, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Salt Lake County Health Department, the Utah State Historical Preservation Office, and the Town of Alta.

The dam will need to be partially excavated around the outlet works. Large machinery will often be present and portable generators, drills, saws and pumps will create temporary noise.

Following repairs, crews will fully restore and revegetate the area surrounding the dam.

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