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April 19, 2024 6:01 pm

Local News

$16.8 Million for Repair of State-Owned Dams Approved by Executive Council

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by Amanda Gokee, New Hampshire Bulletin

The Executive Council last week approved almost $17 million for the repair and reconstruction of state-owned dams.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services now has permission to contract with four firms to complete the work, funded by a combination of state and federal dollars. Repair projects must be completed by Dec. 31, 2026, the deadline that accompanies the windfall of federal funding.

Some funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which means the department is now responsible for rehabilitation that’s four times the bureau’s capacity, according to the department’s request to grant up to $3.75 million to AECOM Technical Services Inc. in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Other firms the state will work with on engineering and technical support services include Gannett Fleming Inc. in Pennsylvania, awarded up to $6.3 million; no more than $2.75 million was awarded to GEI Consultants Inc. in Woburn, Massachusetts; and as much as $4 million could go to HDR Engineering Inc. in Manchester.

The state owns 274 dams, and this money would go toward repairing 12 of them, according to the department, including Avery Dam in Laconia, Goose Pond Dam in Canaan, Little Bog Dam in Odell, and Sunset Lake Dam in Alton.

That lineup could change if state inspections reveal other dams requiring immediate attention or if a project can’t be completed by the 2026 deadline, according to the department.

Dams around the state and country have aged past their expected lifespan, leading environmental groups to push for removal of dams that are no longer useful. Dams disrupt the natural flow of rivers and restoring that flow can help mitigate the impacts of climate change by providing greater absorption during increasingly intense rainstorms. Around 170 dams in the state are currently classified as high hazard, which means their failure would likely result in human deaths.

This story was written by Amanda Gokee, a reporter at the New Hampshire Bulletin, where this story first appeared.

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