How Dams Are Removed

This video clip shows a portion of the removal process for the Harmony Junction Dam on Connoquenessing Creek north of Pittsburgh, removed in 2009 to provide fish passage, increase boating access, to eliminate a public safety hazard, and minimize flooding in the area.

First the contractor uses a hydraulic hammer mounted on a track-hoe to cut a small notch in the dam to release the impounded water slowly. Then the opening in the dam is slowly enlarged to minimize downstream impacts.

Check out the video:

It took two weeks of work to completely remove the dam and restore the stream bank. The photograph shows what the site looks like two years after dam removal.

We think it’s exciting to watch a river come back to life. What do you think?

One Response to “How Dams Are Removed”

Rich Velte

In 2009 you destroyed the Harmony Dam on Connoquenessing creek. “To promote fish habitat, allow kayaking and prevent flooding. The homes that flooded (except for 1 upstream which is in total disrepair) were already evacuated and destroyed before you started there are no “migrating” fish in the conne that need to go upstream, the water is so low now that I watch kayakers dragging themselves across the rocks as they try to go downstream. The pool is gone where many kids learned to fish and upstream were they swam. It’s now 2013 the stream that was “given a chance to recover” is forever changed. You didn’t accomplish anything except relieve the twp. of maintenance and remove yet another part of history of the area. You should investigate any future river you try to improve by simply removing dams and weigh the consequences to the area.