Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Allegheny River Dam Threatened by Erosion

Allegheny Lock and Dam #6, located near Freeport, PA, is severely threatened by erosion, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The erosion, or scour, was discovered during a recent dive inspection. A failure of the dam could cause serious problems for the area. It would shut down commericial and recreational navigation and would impact water intakes and sanitary facilities causing severe water quality degradation . A break could also damage a hydropower facility at the site possibly causing it to cease operations, and could dry up the Cogleys Island Complex near Kittaning--one of the region's largest wetlands--home to several species of endangered mussels.

Currently, the Corps is preparing a solicitation for emergency repairs. Spokesperson Jeff Hawk says they hope to have a permanent fix made before winter. One of the Corps' major concerns is ice formation on the weak dam and collisions by ice floes. The district has implemented additional safety precautions including 24/7 staffing, hourly gauge checks, and local emergency and water management coordination, until the fixes are made.

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