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October 25, 2005

Contact: Charles G. Sturcken (718) 595-6600

Public Advisory Concerning Schoharie Reservoir

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has a long standing commitment to upgrading its dams to modern design criteria. We have initiated a comprehensive program over the past few years to assess the condition of dams at City-owned reservoirs in the Catskill/Delaware watershed and to undertake repairs and rehabilitation required by our investigations. (This is similar to a program initiated by DEP in the mid-1980s to assess and rehabilitate City-owned dams located in the east of Hudson watershed.)

As part of its system-wide dam rehabilitation program, DEP has been conducting field investigations at the Gilboa Dam at the Schoharie Reservoir. A full rehabilitation of the Dam is slated to begin in 2010. While DEP consultants believe that Gilboa Dam continues to be safe under normal operating conditions our recent investigations reveal that safety factors associated with modern engineering practices are not met by the Dam in its present state. The assumptions made in the original design and construction of the dam are outmoded and do not apply to dams as built today.

To that end, DEP will expedite interim structural reinforcement of the Gilboa Dam and perform associated work prior to the start of the complete rehabilitation project. Measures undertaken are expected to include the placement of inclined reinforcing anchors that extend into the native bedrock at the toe of the existing Dam structure. This work will be performed when reservoir spillage and weather conditions permit safe access for workers and equipment on the face of the Dam and spillway channel in late spring 2006.

Until the expedited work is completed, DEP will closely monitor the condition of the Dam. DEP has been in contact with dam safety officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and has contacted emergency management and law enforcement officials in the counties and towns downstream of the Dam.

Construction of the Gilboa Dam was started in 1920 and completed in 1927 The Gilboa Dam impounds the Schoharie Creek, which flows northerly to the Mohawk River. The Dam is comprised of an earthen embankment and concrete spillway. The Reservoir has a capacity of 19.5 billion gallons and on average provides approximately 16% of New York City’s water supply.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600