Brief History of the current Dam Repair Project

The earlier dates noted were from memory so they may not be exact. As time allows, we will attempt to get more precise dates.

In 2009, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) enacted the Dam Safety Regulations requiring dams to be inspected, assigned a hazardous condition A-C, C considered a High Hazard, and require the owner to set up inspections and repair deficiencies. In the regulations, DEC was granted authority to force the dam owner to be breach the dam if they refused to complete repairs. This would have eliminated DeRuyter Reservoir forever. We would have had a nice golf course though.

DeRuyter, as well as most in Madison County Reservoirs and over 400 in the State were classified C. Fortunately, since 1989 the Lake Association established a good working relationship with the Canal Corporation (CC) through some long hard work by Bill Orzell. This relationship has continued through the years and was instrumental in getting the State to commit funds and select DeRuyter to be their first one to get repairs done costing millions.

The Association was extremely smart to change the way they dealt with the Canal Corporation. Rather than having negative mail and phone call campaigns against Canal Corporation employees trying to get them fired by involving politicians, the Lake Association passed a resolution to have a liaison person be the sole contact with the state to discuss our wishes in a collegial manner and all complaints would go to the Lake Association member and not the state. This built up a tremendous amount of trust through the years. That was a significant factor in the selection of DeRuyter.

The Canal Corporation carried out a prior 3 year project starting in 1989. That repair project pictures and explanation can be seen by clicking on the button at the end of this page entitled Dam Repair 1989 - 1991. 

Through the years the southern Reservoirs were costly to maintain.

The Canal Corporation was transferred to the New York State Thruway Authority due their budget being in better shape to absorb the costs. The Thruway put additional staff on and started allocating money to inspect and maintain the Reservoirs. Over time, the Thruway Authority didn’t get the added revenues through a toll increase so the Reservoirs became a burden on them.

Serious discussion to decide which Reservoir would be the first one for the Canal Corporation to expend funds to bring into compliance went on for about a year following review of the initial Bergmann study. Most of the “Southern Reservoirs” needed some repairs but there wasn’t the money or staff to do all Reservoirs at once. In 2012, the CC received the preliminary assessments of the deficiencies of the Southern Reservoirs. 

After some long discussions and with the great rapport the Association developed with the Canal Corporation through the years,  they felt DeRuyter would be a good candidate to repair first. So a more detailed study continued with core sampling and piezometer installation in 2012. A preliminary design was completed including cost estimates. 

The Canal Corporation received the budgeting from the NY Power Authority to complete a full design, develop bid specs, competitively bid the project and the project was awarded in August 2019 which included a very fast project schedule. 

First and most important was the Reservoir had to be dropped 10 feet before work could start. To that end, the Association voted to allow the CC to drop the level one foot through August which proved a good decision. The Reservoir level reached close to the 10 foot drop mark by the end of September which was aided by a very dry rain free September. This allowed the contractor to mobilize the first week of October and they got a great jump on the project. The following pictures document some of the work being performed in mostly chronological order. This will be updated as work proceeds.

Click on link below to see the Canal Corporations original design slide show they used at their public information meetings.

An interesting observation, their computer generated view of what the 10 foot drop would look like is amazingly close to what it actually is.

Click Here for State Design Dam Project Slideshow.

Top Picture Expl



The top picture shows some interesting items. First, the right half of the picture shows the Eastern Buttress area and the left shows the partial view of the Western Buttress which extends toward the overflow spillway not shown.

1 - Dam Rd Cutout where the two 22 inch siphon pipes will go through dam

2- Stone slab facing removed from dam have been number to be reinstalled in the exact place they were once the dam cut is filled in.

3- Pad for new upper level valve house

4- 22 inch siphon pipe and fusing machine

5- Eastern Buttress partial graded readied for collection pipe and manhole installation. Not the final grade level.

6- Current original valve house to be abandoned once Siphon system is completed and working. Valve house to be filled with sand, original inlet pipes into the water to be sealed and grouted. The buried concrete spillway exiting the valve house will also be abandoned down to the new Lower Level Valve House.

7- Compacted soil for New Lower Level Valve House. The L shape is where the stilling well inside the house will be installed with flow measuring weir. The top half will contain the discharge siphon control valves.

8- A weir box with flow monitoring will be installed to collect some of the seepage from the lower part of the western buttress and discharge into the federal wetland.

9- Lower access road to be installed for access to lower valve house.

10- Upper access road for upper valve house to be built after collection pipes and manholes are installed and backfill brought in to bring up grade. 

1998 - 2001 Dam Repair Project

89 to 91 Dam Repair Project (docx)