The Inflatable Gate at Oswego Dam
An Obermeyer (pneumatic) gate system was chosen for Oswego Dam. The 15’ long gate has a steel panel supported by an inflatable air bladder. The elevation of the lake is adjusted and maintained by controlling the pressure in the bladder. When attached to a portable air compressor, the gate can be raised. Lowering the gate is as simple as deflating a tire.
The gate operator can easily monitor the pressure in the bladder to check if the desired position is being maintained. Obermeyer gates can be set at a number of positions between fully raised and fully lowered. The gates use no high-precision parts or bearings – enhancing the service life and requiring minimal maintenance.
At Oswego Dam, on or about May 1 each year, the gate is usually closed (inflated and raised) to restore the lake level to its summer elevation. On or about November 1, the gate can be opened (deflated and lowered) to accommodate the higher base flow during the winter resulting in a 6” lower lake level.
To see the current and past lake levels, check the NOAA website.