HERKIMER — Herkimer town officials are questioning what impact an inactive hydroelectric dam might have on erosion problems in West Canada Creek.
The town received a draft report on the engineering study looking at the erosion problems along the creek, Town Supervisor Dominic Frank said.
The dam is not active and questions have been raised about whether it is having an effect on the flow of water that has redirected the stream and has been causing erosion along the banks.
Last month Frank reported the state Department of Environmental Conservation required a letter from the town in order to release information about the dam.
The board to ask the engineer Jim Houston of C.T. Male to contact the owner to ask about any plans regarding the structure.
The town had hired C.T. Male to conduct a study to determine what steps need to be taken to put a halt to erosion problems. The study involved test boring, field studies and site inspections as well as review of other reports.
An Empire State Development grant is paying for half the cost of the study with the town matching that amount, he said.
The town has been dealing with issues relating to erosion for several years. In 2012, town officials were notified that East German Street Extension, which runs along the creek, was sinking. The following year, the town spent about $300,000 to repair it, digging down 18 feet to try to stabilize it. Within a short time, however, the road was sinking again and had to be closed.
In June 2014, the town council learned the problems on East German Street Extension were worsening and two families living on the street were advised to evacuate their homes. There also were concerns about utilities, including water, gas and sewer lines that run under that street. Temporary repairs were made and the town was able to line up funding through a grant and loan to make more permanent repairs.
The problems started when severe storms changed the course of the West Canada Creek, undermining the bank and pulling away the retaining wall.