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September 18, 2006

Contact: Karen Miller, Sara Davies-Griffin, Schoharie County (518) 295-8347
Anne Canty, NYCDEP (718) 595-6600

Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Chairman Earl Vanwormer and DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd Announce Joint Progress on Several Gilboa Dam Issues

After much discussion, Chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, Earl VanWormer III and Commissioner Emily Lloyd of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection announced major progress on several areas involving the ongoing Gilboa Dam project.

After meeting with representatives of Assemblyman Hooker, Senator Clinton, Senator Schumer, Governor Pataki, Montgomery County, Congressman McNulty, DEC Commissioner Sheehan plus Supervisors VanGlad and Senator Seward and other local and State officials, issues including stabilization, future flood control planning and reimbursement of County expenses, which cover emergency planning, are being resolved.

Lloyd and VanWormer announced that the DEP has committed to funding the full $370,000 cost of the early warning system that Schoharie County will install, plus much of the County’s other expenses for emergency planning.  The DEP will also include in the coming reconstruction project a new low-level release works that will exceed state guidelines.  In addition, DEP has committed to installation of floodgates at the Gilboa Dam. 

Commissioner Lloyd also reiterated her desire to find additional ways to use the City’s reservoirs to assist in flood management through the region.  In March 2006, DEP committed to extend to Schoharie Reservoir a snow pack-based flood management program that is in effect from December to March at the Pepacton and Neversink reservoirs on the Delaware River.

In the coming months, the Department will be seeking to develop additional spill mitigation programs.

Commissioner Lloyd stated, “I am extremely grateful to Supervisor VanWormer for his leadership role in what has been a constructive and respectful process on both sides.  I am extremely pleased by the significant progress that has been made in the stabilization of Gilboa Dam and on securing the emergency planning equipment and protocols that will give the residents of Schoharie Count the confidence that they deserve.”

Supervisor VanWormer said, “I would like to acknowledge the State, Federal and local officials who have worked along with the entire Board of Supervisors and residents to help protect our County.  I would also like to thank New York City for seeing the need to be a good neighbor and following through with a partnership that will truly benefit all of us.  Commissioner Lloyd has made several trips to Schoharie County personally through this project and I would like to thank her for attention to this matter.”

Commissioner Lloyd offers this update on the Gilboa Dam project.  The ongoing stabilization project at Gilboa is scheduled to be completed mid-December, at which time the dam will meet State dam stability safety guidelines for existing dams.  At least 27 of the 79 planned anchoring cables have already been installed, and holes have been drilled for another 26.  The stabilization project’s multiple stages are projected to cost a total of $24 million.

The full scale, four-year reconstruction of the dam that had been scheduled to begin in 2010 has been advanced and will begin in 2008.  The larger release works now being planned and the gate structure at the crest will add approximately $70 million to the cost of the project, which is now estimated to approach with design costs up to $300 million.  The full-scale reconstruction project will bring the decades-old structure up to State standards for new dam construction.

The anchoring work is the final stage of the current stabilization project.  Anchoring cables are being installed along the top of the dam and also on an incline on the downstream side of the spillway.  Cables are installed through holes drilled through the dam and then are anchored both to the dam and to solid bedrock below.  The cables are then tightened; creating tension that helps to hold the dam in place.

Before the anchoring work, DEP installed four large siphons to help decrease water levels in the reservoir.  The four siphons have a capacity of 125 million gallons per day (MGD) each, and extend over the dam and onto the downstream spillway.  Prior to the completion of the siphons, the DEP installed a 220-foot long by 5.5-foot high notch at the western end of the dam.  The notch effectively lowered the capacity of the reservoir, relieved pressure behind the dam and helped to secure a dry work area for the current anchoring work. 

The current anchoring work has been the subject of five workshops sponsored by the DEP and attended by engineers and technical staff from numerous agencies with dam safety expertise.  Agencies that have reviewed the work plans include the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Army Corps of Engineers and the New York Power Authority.  Also attending the workshops were engineers representing Schoharie County and consulting engineers that provide design review services for the DEC.

In working toward a mutual agreement on the level of safety for the rehabilitation of the dam.  The DEP and its engineers hope to develop a class working relationship with Schoharie County’s Engineers and other consulting engineers including the Army Corp, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Environmental Conservation and NY Power Authority.  With everyone working to help resolve this issue, this will give us the best solution for all parties.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) manages New York City’s water supply, which is collected from three watersheds comprising nearly 2000 square miles, 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes and provides over one billion gallons of quality drinking water daily serving over half the population of New York State.  The DEP manages 14 in-City wastewater treatment plans, as well as nine-treatment plants upstate.  DEP’s operations and investments translate into 1833 jobs in the West of Hudson watershed and in 2004 New York City paid over $2.75 million in taxes to Gilboa.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600