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Wells expects dam will be reclassified

Friday, August 29, 2014 - Updated: 8:31 AM



WELLS -- Supervisor Brian Towers has been told unofficially that the town would be receiving a letter reclassifying Algonquin Dam as a significant rather than a high hazard.

The news follows a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission inspection of the dam in July that Towers says went well. FERC requires an independent safety inspection every five years.

FERC classifies dams as low, significant or high hazard. Reclassification would exempt the town from the requirement to have an independent engineering study done every five years.

The dam would still be subject to annual FERC inspections.

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, according to Towers.

In the meantime, engineering firm Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, is working through information gathered at the dam recently and will look at revising the estimated quantity of concrete needed for repairs.

The revaluation is being done because bids opened in July were well over the estimated cost of $334,000.

Based on the outcome, the board will have to decide if it will modify its approach to the repairs and advertise for new bids on the project, or accept the low bid and start the project.

Towers said the engineers are considering a two-prong project that would repair the clay blanket this year and spalling concrete next year.

July revenues for the Lake Algonquin Hydroelectric Plant were $18,386; expenditures were $259. Year-to-date revenues as of July 31 were $134,552, with expenditures of $5,253.

Note: This article is based on draft minutes of the Wells Town Board meeting of Aug. 11, 2014, as provided by Town Clerk Mari Wilson.


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