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Speculator, NY ,

Town trying again with FERC

Sunday, November 10, 2013 - Updated: 7:33 PM



WELLS - Town of Wells Supervisor Brian Towers is hopeful a recent report on the Algonquin Dam may cause the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rethink its decision not to reclassify the dam from high hazard to something less.

FERC agreed in July 2010 to lower the dam's classification in five of six possible breach scenarios. However, it said data was insufficient to assess the danger associated with the Algonquin Drive Bridge under a flood / breach situation.

As a result the Wells Town Board hired Henningson, Durham and Richardson Architecture and Engineering, Syracuse, for additional hydraulic analysis, which was done, but FERC required more information.

Towers told the board Oct. 14 the completed draft report from HDR might be enough to sway FERC. Much of the report is not public information, he said, as it speaks of ways to compromise the structure.

The draft report will be sent for FERC's review before it is formally submitted.

The board has been trying for years to get FERC to reclassify the dam to a lower rating, which would save the town hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long run.

Even with a lower rating, the dam would still be subject to annual FERC inspections.


Bernier Carr & Associates, Watertown, has provided an outline of services it proposes to perform regarding work needed to address clay blanket deterioration and concrete repairs on the dam.

It includes complete design, bidding and construction phase fees: Survey, $11,750; Design, $39,500; Bidding, $4,400; estimated direct expenses, $1,500; and resident project representative, $95 an hour as needed or requested.

The board agreed the town should try to solicit construction bids on the project by February or March of 2014.

Towers added there is a possibility New York state will propose a bond act in 2014 for dam projects. If so, and voters approve, the town may be eligible to have some of its costs covered by it, he said.


The board reviewed a report from Bruce Jennings regarding the underwater inspection at the Lake Algonquin Hydro Plant completed Sept. 24. Gates were cleaned and the bubbler pipe checked and the exhaust sleuth and entry pipe inspected.

Only normal wear was found and overall everything looked to be in good shape. The inspection cost $675.


A survey of the dam monument focusing on three points basically confirmed the structure has not moved at all, Towers said. He said there is no indication the structure has moved in any way, shape or form, which means the clay blanket is doing its job.

The clay blanket protects the structure by preventing water from getting underneath it and causing it to move.

Lake Algonquin Hydroelectric Plant expenditures for September totaled $157.86 and revenues totaled $1,330.79. Year-to-date expenditures were $9,097.58 and revenues were $118,254.84.

Note: This article is based on draft minutes of the Wells Town Board meeting of Oct. 14, 2013, as provided by Town Clerk Mari Wilson.


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