Kickemuit dam removal will cost $1.6 million

BCWA hoping for grants, but will fund removal regardless of funding sources

By Ted Hayes
Posted 9/18/19

It could cost ratepayers as much as $1.6 million to fund the removal of the Bristol County Water Authority’s old dam just north of the Kickemuit River.Since they first announced their intention …

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Kickemuit dam removal will cost $1.6 million

BCWA hoping for grants, but will fund removal regardless of funding sources

Posted

It could cost ratepayers as much as $1.6 million to fund the removal of the Bristol County Water Authority’s old dam just north of the Kickemuit River.
Since they first announced their intention to remove the dam two years ago, BCWA officials have said the removal would cost the authority approximately $250,000.

But on Tuesday, BCWA executive director Pam Marchand suggested that's a best case scenario. The entire project cost is expected to be $1.6 million, she said. While BCWA officials hope state and federal grants will pay for the majority of the project cost, she conceded that if grants can't be found to cover the bulk of the work, the authority will have to pick up any unfunded portion and will go ahead with the project regardless.

One of the reasons, she said, is that the state DEM has found the impacted and failing earthenware structure in violation of state environmental regulations.

If grants can't be found, "we can't shelve (the removal) because the DEM has found the dam to be in violation," she said. "They are updating their requirements for what would be (required in order to maintain the dam) including a new spillway."

Making those repairs and upgrades that would be required by DEM would cost roughly $1.5 million. And with the BCWA's long-term water supply strategy, which eliminates the need for the dam and the Kickemuit Reservoir water source, a better long term plan is to remove it at the $1.6 million cost, she said.

Another reason is the DOT, which would have to raise the level of the Schoolhouse Road Bridge in conjunction with the dam removal project. That work was originally funded on the DOT's TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan) for 2024. However, DOT officials recently agreed to reschedule that bridge work to coincide with the dam removal in 2021, Ms. Marchand said, but only if the BCWA board would agree to fully fund the dam removal by agreeing to the full $1.6 million cost regardless of whether grants can be found to help cover the total.

Ms. Marchand said Monday that she is optimistic that grants will be secured to cover the bulk of the project's cost.

"There are some that are becoming available," she said.

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