The Quonnipaug Dam project is progressing


By By Ben Rayner • 9/21/2021 1:27 PM EST

The dam repair project at Lake Quonnipaug is still facing some funding uncertainty and city officials remain concerned about the dam’s stability, especially given the recent weather. However, now that the process is slow, they are confident that progress on the renovation will accelerate.

According to city engineer Janice Plaziak, some minor repairs have been carried out recently, including upgrades to the culvert and shoring the dam with material.

“There has definitely been some erosion and we have placed some material on the dam to prevent further erosion,” said Plaziak.

Plans for an upgrade have been under review since 2009, according to published reports. First Selectman Matt Hoey said the city has been aware of the looming problem for some time and it is an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Although both Hoey and Plaziak stated that the current situation is not critical, they emphasize that failure of the dam would not only disturb local residents, but also cause major road and property damage.

“I wouldn’t say it is currently a high risk situation and it wouldn’t be catastrophic if it failed, but it would certainly be disruptive and more expensive to fix,” said Plaziak.

Hoey said working with the state can be frustrating at times, but he remains hopeful as the process progresses.

“We are currently working with the state on this. Of course we know we need to address the problem. It’s not critical now, but it will be sometime and soon. So it is time to move this forward, ”said Hoey.

The problems with the state pose particular challenges for the city. The State Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) operates a boat dock at the north end of the lake, and the city believes it is responsible for the rest of the water. According to Plaziak, unknowns often arise at the interface between municipalities and the state government.

However, the city must adhere to strict DEEP regulations and environmental laws that oversee every ecosystem like Quonnipaug.

“Who is responsible and what not – is an aspect that we are working on,” said Plaziak.

Plaziak said the city was responsible for any repairs or work on the dam. This year’s budget allocated $ 300,000 and a call for proposals was sent to engineers who apply for design and planning.

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