NEW YORK—A major dam in the Catskills that was commissioned for a $400 million rehabilitation is scheduled to finish two years early.
Completion of the dam was originally projected for 2016, but will be finished by the end of next summer. The early finish date is due to an “extremely productive construction season in 2013,” according to a release from New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland.
“This project is important for the city and our neighbors in the Catskills, as it will ensure the reliability of the water supply and the safety of critical infrastructure at Schoharie Reservoir,” Strickland said.
Over the years, the dam suffered from “age-related spillway surface deterioration,” according to the DEP. The stone face of the dam had been badly damaged by years of freezing and thawing which caused stone to weaken and dislodge.
Rehabilitation included anchoring the dam with 80 cables, installing temporary siphons that will later be replaced by a large diversion tunnel. The tunnel will allow water from the reservoir be released into the Schoharie Creek to regulate water levels.
Contractors also added a system of rigid, movable gates that provide the flexibility to release water or create excess storage capacity within the reservoir.
“The expedient and careful rehabilitation of Gilboa Dam is a testament to the skill of the engineers and the construction workers who’ve been involved in the project, including roughly 125 tradesmen from across the watershed,” Strickland said in the release.
The Gilboa Dam impounds the Schoharie Reservoir, the northernmost reservoir in the city’s Catskill water supply system. The dam has been in service for around 80 years and holds 17.6 billion gallons of water at full capacity.
The Schoharie Reservoir now has an additional 87,500 cubic yards of concrete, and is said to be 80 percent complete.
DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing some 8 million residents in new York City, and another 1 million outside the five boroughs, with over 1 billion gallons of water each day. Water originates from a watershed that extends 125 miles from the city and includes 19 reservoirs and 3 controlled lakes.