JOHNSTOWN - An Albany engineering firm recently updated the city Water Board on work it has done on the city's three dams, which are scrutinized by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Eric Thorkildsen, an engineer with Greenman-Pedersen Inc., gave a presentation to the board on dam safety issues. The firm has been under contract with the city the last couple years.
To date, Thorkildsen said his firm has complied with the city contract and enjoys working with the city on issues involving its dams.
"We've been very happy to be part of this," he said.
But he stated "there's been some [state] issues the last few years with dams."
Thorkildsen said the city might want to consider breach survey work.
He said DEC has become more involved with dams and issues dam safety regulations, which includes a stability analysis.
Greenman-Pedersen's work includes regular and formal dam inspections, inspection and maintenance plans, engineering assessments, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling to establish hazard classification, dam breach flood inundation mapping; topographic mapping and boundary surveying, including use of GIS; structural engineering; and preparation of construction plans, cost estimates and specifications.
Thorkildsen noted the city's three dams receive state classifications. They are the Cork Center Storage Reservoir Dam, a "Class C" high hazard dam; and the Cold Brook Reservoir and Warren Storage Reservoir dams, both "Class B" intermediate hazard dams. He said his firm's work includes a maintenance plan, submitting an annual certification of ownership to the state and doing an engineering assessment.
Man with the plan
Part of Greenman-Pedersen's agreement with the city also includes an emergency action plan, which Thorkildsen said was submitted this month to the state. He said his firm also completed an internal inspection plan for all three dams.
Thorkildsen said inundation mapping was plotted out and submitted to DEC to make sure the dams are in compliance. He said the city should consider further dam breach survey work.
"Cork Center has had some seepage issues for years," he said.
Thorkildsen said the existing 72-for spillway isn't wide enough to get water out fast enough at Cork Center. Many old dams' spillways are in such shape, he said, and his firm has consulted with DEC.
He said Cold Brook has had a little seepage, and trees have had to be removed from the embankment slope.
Thorkildsen said Warren Storage has some "maintenance" issues, but it might be an "easy fix" to seek reduction of the Class B" intermediate hazard status for that dam to a better "Class A" flow classification. He said he would write DEC requesting a class reduction for that dam.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com