Croghan Island Dam Enforcement Action
DEC reduces water behind Croghan Island Dam to protect the public
DEC is continuing its enforcement actions to address safety concerns at the Croghan Island Dam. Located on the Beaver River in Croghan, Lewis County, the dam was listed as a high hazard dam and had fallen into a serious state of disrepair. A high hazard dam is a dam that could cause loss of life if it failed.
Why is action being taken
The dam's structural deficiencies and inadequate spillway capacity were identified in a 1981 report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Over the years cracks, voids and wear have worsened. DEC has attempted to work with the dam's owners to address these problems, but no repairs have been made so far. DEC began an enforcement action in November 2009 to compel the four owners, one of whom is a defunct corporation, to address the dam's problems. That enforcement action remains open while DEC conducts interim safety work at the dam and works towards a long-term solution to dam ownership and repair.
What is being done
DEC staff removed stop-logs from the dam's spillway on July 28, 2011 to lower the water level behind the dam by two feet. This action, the second step of a phased approach, protects the public by reducing the water pressure behind the dam, which is approximately 12 feet high and has three sections totaling 540 feet wide. Since September 2010, DEC has lowered the water level behind the dam by a total of 4.5 feet.
DEC staff removing stop-logs
from the Croghan Dam spillway
By using a phased approach to address the safety concerns raised by the dam's poor condition, DEC is improving dam safety while working with the community to address fire safety concerns and complete an engineering study to determine options for saving the dam. If the owners or another willing party fail to complete the engineering study and implement needed repairs, DEC can seek to resolve the enforcement case by removing the dam.
An engineer retained by the Lewis County Development Corporation completed a detailed dam hazard classification study and report. The report was submitted to the DEC for review and comment in January 2012. The study concluded the dam's failure would not incrementally increase the potential for the loss of life or increase property damage from that which would already occur during a large flood.
The hazard classification study and the ongoing engineering study is being paid for by a grant from the Rural Energy for America Program, through USDA-Rural Development, and contributions from local civic organizations.
As a result of reviewing and accepting the study, DEC lowered the dam's hazard classification from a high hazard dam to a low hazard dam. Due to the dam's poor condition and lack of a responsible owner, the water level behind the Croghan Island Dam cannot be restored to pre-enforcement levels until the enforcement case is resolved.