Long Term Solution Needed for Hathaway Pond DamMarch 19th, 2010
Brian Graber, American Rivers, 413-585-5896
(Rochester, MA) – American Rivers today praised the work of public safety officials from the Town of Rochester, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety to prevent the failure of Hathaway Pond Dam in Rochester. The dam, located on the Sippican River, developed a large hole during this week’s flooding, prompting emergency work to temporarily stabilize the structure.
The Coalition for Buzzards Bay is currently working cooperatively with the dam’s owner, the Town of Rochester and others to identify a solution for the dam safety issues and the fact that the deteriorating dam limits the passage of migratory fish. A grant made through the national partnership between American Rivers and the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program has allowed the Coalition to contract with an engineering company to study various alternatives to improve the situation. Results of this investigation are expected this spring.
Brian Graber, Northeast Regional Director of River Restoration for American Rivers, made the following statement:
“The rapid response of emergency crews at Hathaway Pond Dam helped prevent a disaster. Now we must move quickly to find a long-term solution so that an event like this does not happen here again.”
“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Many communities are getting the wake up call that they must address aging, unsafe dams.”
“Dams across the state are living on borrowed time, and many of our communities are at risk. These dams were built decades to centuries ago and many of them, perhaps most, no longer serve the function that they were built to provide. Closing our eyes to the problem doesn’t make it disappear. The most cost-effective, permanent way for communities to solve the problems of unsafe dams is to remove them.”
With similar problems at dams in Canton, Waltham, and Freetown in recent weeks, American Rivers issued three natural flood management priorities that are an essential part of a 21st century flood management plan:
1) Remove or repair unsafe dams;
2) Restore and protect floodplains; and
3) Protect wetlands