Piqua discusses low dam removal


By Haylee Pence

[email protected]

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commissioners met during a public information session on Wednesday, Jan. 26, to discuss the removal of Great Miami River Low Head Dam Removal Feasibility Study.

According to the study, the “typical life of a dam is 50 years, after this time major upgrades and repairs are needed to maintain the safe operation of the dam.” Within Miami County, there are three dams categorized as low hazard because “failure of any of the dams would not cause significant downstream property damage or the loss of life,” according to the study.

Low-head dams have the ability to create a “churning backwash,” which traps people and subsequently results in drowning. Therefore, the removal of the dam would prevent the “churning backwash” from trapping and drowning individuals.

“Cities across the nation are turning towards their rivers as the place to engage community recreation and new economic development. Many cities across the country are discovering the measurable economic gains of low-head dam removal in regard to recreation,” stated in the study.

The removal of the dam in Piqua would reduce the drowning risk of individuals along with increasing recreational usage of the riverways, which would boost the economic value of the area.

“Dam removal would also significantly benefit habitat connectivity for fish and invertebrate within the Great Miami River […] which would improve water quality, and a healthier ecosystem,” the study stated.

At the end of the meeting, the Piqua City Commissioners had not made a decision to move forward or to continue maintenance of the dam.

The total cost of the Piqua Power Plant Dam Removal would be $664,584.38, which includes a subtotal of $531,667.50 and a contingency of $132,916.88. The sources of funding could include the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Miami Soil and Water Conservation District, the Recovery Act Funds – Habitat Enhancement, Restoration, and Improvement, and the Water Resource Restoration Program.

According to Brittany Van Horn, Public Relations and Special Events coordinator of the city of Piqua, the pros of removing he dam include “lower or remove costs to the City, ecological benefits, increased safety, increase river recreation, economical benefits, and geomorphological benefits.”

Utilities Director Kevin Krejny stated, “The removal of the Power Plant Dam would benefit the future NPDES permits for the Waste Water Treatment Plant. This would show we are making substantial improvements to the nutrient conditions in the GMR, specifically in regards to Phosphorus.”

No posts to display