FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE03-54
Project To Improve Two Dams In Town Of Southeast
Million Project at Bog Brook at East Branch Reservoirs to
Improve Dams’ Function and Appearance and to Increase Public Access
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the City has begun
a $25 million rehabilitation project affecting the dams at the Bog Brook
and East Branch Reservoirs in the Town of Southeast. The work includes
upgrades of the dams’ hydraulic functions, aesthetic improvements
to the dams and the surrounding woodlands and better access for boaters
through a new boat ramp in the East Branch Reservoir.
Commissioner Ward cautioned local residents that work will continue
through August 2005, and that during that time the water levels in the
two reservoirs will often be lowered dramatically to allow construction
crews to access important parts of the two dams. Water levels have already
been lowered by over 60 percent at the site.
“This two-year project will make necessary upgrades to the dams
while beautifying the area and increasing access for the public,”
said Commissioner Ward. “It is another example of the City’s
commitment to the partnerships it has forged with its upstate neighbors.
We will make every effort to have as little effect on the community as
possible while we complete this important work.
“This work will also encourage diversity, improved health and
active growth of our watershed forests, further improving the buffering
capacity and ability to reduce sedimentation and erosion,” continued
the Commissioner. “Our forests are critical for the long term protection
of water quality and are a great asset to the surrounding area.”
Commissioner Ward emphasized that there is no damage to either of the
dams and that the work is for improvements only, not because either dam
is in poor condition or is structurally unsound.
At the East Branch Reservoir the project will adjust stones that have
shifted within the spillway; install new sluice gates and activators in
the dam; create a new service road for DEP access; and create a new valve
chamber at the base of the dam that will allow the DEP better control
of releases of water into the East Branch of the Croton River.
The project will also remove graffiti from the spillway; clean and resurface
the face of the dam; remove overgrown brush from the area; and restore
the fountain at the base of the dam to its original splendor.
At the Bog Brook Reservoir the project will install a “fuse plug”
in the reservoir’s auxiliary dam. A fuse plug is a section of dam
that is intentionally designed to give way if conditions in the reservoir
threaten the structural integrity of the main dam. The fuse plug is designed
to minimize the catastrophic damage from a potential dam failure by allowing
water to escape into the Croton River through a predetermined spillway,
instead of building up to the point where the main dam can be damaged.
This work will require the use of a temporary coffer dam in the reservoir.
Also at Bog Brook, the project will install new sluice gates and actuators
in the dam; create a new valve chamber so that the DEP can better control
releases into the East Branch of the Croton River; clean the fountain
at the base of the dam; and repair the tunnel which connects the two reservoirs
under Route 22, including the gatehouse that controls water flow through
There will also be a new boat launch installed at East Branch, the first
of its type for that reservoir. Access to the launch will be on Old Milltown
Road, off of Route 22.
Work to improve the forestlands surrounding the Bog Brook and East Branch
reservoirs is currently underway as part of the project. Historically,
the planting of trees and clearing of wood debris from the reservoir areas
was necessary as part of the original construction of water supply dams
and facilities over 100 years ago. Now that the surrounding forests have
matured, the removal of invasive vines and hazards is necessary to encourage
diverse, healthy and vigorous forests. Densely planted conifer stands
are thinned, and dead and dying trees along roadsides and in boat mooring
areas will be removed.
Local fisherman will benefit through improved safety in their boat mooring
areas, and visible improvements will be noticed by residents traveling
along state Route 22 and other roads in the area. Trees cut are largely
left on location to assist in continued soil and vegetation development.
The East Branch and Bog Brook Reservoirs are part of the City’s
Croton Water System, which supplies about 10 percent of New York City’s
daily supply and is capable of providing 40 million gallons per day to
surrounding communities. The East Branch Reservoir holds 5.2 billion gallons
and was put into service in 1891. Bog Brook holds 4.4 billion gallons
and was put into service in 1892.