September 15, 2010


Little York Dam repair costs outlined

Engineer gives county 3 options that range from $917,000 to $1.3 million

Staff Reporter

Replacing the old and deteriorating dam at Little York Lake in 2011 would cost the county between $917,000 and $1.3 million, said an engineer hired by the county.
Design Engineer Chad Knutti of Utica-based Gomez and Sullivan presented three options to replace the dam at a public meeting in the County Office Building auditorium Tuesday night.
About 30 people attended the meeting.
Knutti outlined the different plans, which included a $1.3 million option that was the most expensive because it would entail two culvert replacements along with the dam replacement, and a $1 million option that called for installing a 50-foot long dam with a rubber bladder to sit atop the concrete foundation.
The third and least costly option entails replacing the existing dam but not the culverts and increasing the flow capacity of the dam by adding additional sluice gates through which water can flow.
The firm recommends the county choose the cheapest option, and
County Highway Superintendent Don Chambers agreed.
Chambers said long-term maintenance costs are lower than the other options and the fact it is the least expensive option also makes it desirable.
Chambers said the plan also would allow the county to more quickly adjust water levels at Little York Lake, something that is advantageous in the event of a flood.
The plan would replace the existing main structure with a new dam that would have two sluice gates, each 4 feet wide by 6 feet high.
The east gate structure, which allows water to flow over the dam and has two gates, one of which is in need of repair, would also be replaced. The new structure would have three sluice gates each 4 feet wide by 4 feet high, allowing more flow to be directed down the east channel rather than the main stream where the water currently is directed.
The water levels would be controlled by chain hoists that the county workers would pull to let more water through as needed. The new structure would also include railings and a walkway, as opposed to a narrow plank the workers now walk on when adjusting water levels.
Chambers said a dam will heighten safety for the workers.
Highway Committee Chairman Dave Fuller (R-Cincinnatus, Taylor, Freetown and Willet) said he likes that the water would now go down the channel because it is designed to take on high quantities of water. The plan also fulfills a state Department of Environmental Conservation requirement that the county’s new dam accommodate a 100-year flood.
Fuller said the Highway Committee will explore the options at the Oct. 13 meeting. The committee will then recommend to the full Legislature which option to proceed with.
Since DEC and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits will be required, Fuller said he wants to start the process for applying for permits. Fuller is not sure how the project would be paid for, saying the engineer is seeking funding sources.
“Anything that requires this type of funding is a hard situation,” Fuller said. But Fuller said it is indisputable the dam needs to be repaired.
Little York Lake Association member Barb Stepien said she is hopeful the funding will be identified so the project can proceed.
“The biggest concern is the cost and where the money is going to come from. But I am pleased it has gotten this far,” Stepien said after the meeting.
Stepien said she is happy that the engineers said the replacement could take place in stages, allowing some gates to be used while others are repaired, in order for the lake levels not to be adversely affected during construction.
Chuck Goodman, who lives on Goodale Lake, which is fed by the Tioughnioga River and flows into Little York Lake, said he thinks the third option is a good solution because it is the most cost-efficient and adds more sluice gates.
Goodman, whose property also lies in the existing floodplain mapped out for a 100-year flood, said he thinks less of his property would be in the floodplain with the new dam, another attractive feature of the construction.
Chambers said if the Highway Committee authorizes the project to proceed, funding would be identified and the engineers will prepare more specific design plans with construction targeted for 2011.


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