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December 20, 2011


Farrell Sklerov / Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600

DEP Completes Repairs to Gilboa Dam Spillway Damaged During Hurricane Irene

Dam Remains Safe and Upgrade Work Is Moving Forward

Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that DEP has completed work to repair the Gilboa Dam's spillway, which was damaged during Hurricane Irene. The dam's spillway and stair steps are designed to safely pass excess water from the reservoir to the creek downstream of the dam. The stair steps absorb some of the energy of the water as it spills over the dam and falls to a pool below, over a weir and then into Schoharie Creek. Two areas of the spillway floor below the dam were eroded as a result of the record-breaking amount of water from the storm. In addition, a section of the stair step was eroded on the northern end, farthest away from the dam. Approximately 4,000 cubic yards of concrete were placed to repair the channel stair step.  The Gilboa Dam was structurally safe before Hurricane Irene and the integrity of the dam remains sound.  The scheduled $350 million upgrade of the dam continues.

"Gilboa Dam has been and continues to be safe," said Commissioner Strickland. "Since the hurricane, DEP and its contractors have worked diligently to repair damage done to the dam's spillway – which did not affect the stability of the dam – and to restore the construction site for the upgrade work that will continue.  We will continue to monitor the dam and all construction work closely, in cooperation with our local partners."

"As Director of Emergency Management, NYC DEP continues to keep us abreast of all conditions for the Gilboa Dam," said Judith Warner, Director of Schoharie County's Emergency Management Office. " Hurricane Irene produced copious amounts of rain in the headwaters of the Schoharie Creek, compounded with the already saturated water table, NYC DEP kept constant communications with our office on the current conditions.  Recently, NYC DEP conducted an After Action Review where my office provided input on improving the Emergency Action Plan."

DEP assembled an Independent Technical Review Team to review the plans for the dam repairs prior to performing the work. The team of expert consultants, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Dam Safety Section and a Schoharie County-retained engineer from Clough Harbor and Associates—have been reviewing the plans and specifications for the reconstruction project.

Ahead of the storm, DEP released 2.8 billion gallons of water through the dams' siphons and diverted 2.4 billion gallons from the Schoharie Reservoir to the Ashokan Reservoir. Based on higher-than-predicted amounts of rain and other factors such as the communication failure of electronic monitoring equipment called extensometers during Hurricane Irene, DEP triggered the Emergency Action Plan and alerted county and local officials to take the precautionary steps of evacuating the flood zone and activating the county's siren alert system. Residents who could hear the sirens moved to higher ground by following the posted evacuation routes by the county.

After Hurricane Irene, DEP took several steps to ensure that Gilboa Dam would remain safe. They include:

  • On December 9, DEP conducted an After Action Review of its Emergency Action Plan activation with state officials from the Office of Emergency Management, Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation and local officials from Schoharie and Montgomery Counties.  The review solicited feedback on how well DEP performed under the current plan and to improve the plan and future coordination.
  • In October, DEP completed repairs to the extensometers (electronic monitoring equipment) at the Gilboa Dam. These sensors provide real-time data to DEP about the structural stability of the dam and they are an important tool in DEP safety protocols for the dam and the communities downstream of it.
  • In September, DEP submitted a post-storm incident report on Gilboa Dam to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, based upon inspections and engineering analysis by outside and in-house dam safety experts. The report concluded that the Gilboa Dam, which was structurally safe beforehand and undergoing a scheduled $350 million upgrade, weathered the heavy rain associated with Hurricane Irene and remains safe and structurally sound.
  • Also in September, DEP assisted with $300,000 toward the repair of Schoharie County's emergency siren system for Gilboa Dam, with money anticipated to be reimbursed by FEMA for infrastructure damage.

DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. Approximately 1,000 DEP employees live and work in the watershed communities. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. DEP has a robust capital program with a planned $13.2 billion in investments over the next 10 years that creates up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600