Removal of the sinking dam | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff Photo / Allie Vugrincic A sign at the Canoe City MetroPark warns boaters to get out of the water before the Leavittsburg Dam. Of the nine dams along the Mahoning River slated for removal by the Eastgate Council of Governments, one at Lowellville is demolished, another at Struthers is partly demolished and four are funded, two of which are expected to remain and the dam of Leavittsburg is expected to be funded soon.

At the December unveiling of a new boat launch near where the Lowellville Dam once stood, Mayor James Iudiciani Sr. said he and former Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker and former Campbell Mayor William Vansuch first explored removing dams along the Mahoning River in 2011.

“It took 10 years to get here, but, man, it’s beautiful and we love it,” said Iudiciani.

The Lowellville Dam was the first of nine fully removed dams targeted by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments in a multi-community project estimated at $ 26 million.

The removal of this dam cost about $ 2.3 million, mostly funded by grants. The new livery of the dock and canoe was initially valued at $ 144,000, with a 50-50 match from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, according to newspaper records.

The $ 3.2 million project to remove the next dam, located near South Bridge Street in Struthers, began in July. Five concrete piers that had supported a train bridge and five shorter piers were removed, allowing water to flow freely over the approximately 240-foot-long dam.

“If the weather permits, they’ll start trimming that and pull the dam down to stream level.” Stephanie Dyer, environmental manager at Eastgate, said.

This year will see more work along the river, with the removal of the three Youngstown dams – which will cost $ 3 million, according to Dyer – funded by the Ohio EPA’s Water Resources Restoration Sponsorship Program ( WRRPS).

Youngstown is still looking for sponsors for the program. The funding is generated by interest on EPA water pollution improvement loans, Dyer said. Sponsors can come from anywhere in Ohio.

Then along the Mahoning come the Girard Liberty Street and Warren Township Main Street dams – both of which will remain in place for now, as they are used by factories, Dyer said.

The Warren Summit Street Dam, a roughly $ 3.25 million project, is being funded for its removal through WRRPS and is also seeking sponsors, with the engineering phase of the process nearing completion, according to Dyer. Next comes dredging and then deconstruction.

“We cannot remove the dams without dredging”, Dyer said, explaining that contaminated sediment is accumulating behind dams and in nearby hot spots.

The sediments removed by dredging are drained. The water is treated in a treatment plant before being returned to the river and the sediment is sent elsewhere.

In the case of the Lowellville Dam, the sediment removed was tested to make sure it was not dangerous and then sent to a landfill to be used as daily cover, Dyer said.

The last dam scheduled for removal, the Leavittsburg Dam near Canoe City MetroPark, is expected to be funded when the Ohio EPA announces its next round of projects.

The Trumbull County MetroParks Board of Directors approved the removal of the dam, which is owned by metroparks, in April, despite a 650-signature petition against the dam removal.

Residents have expressed concerns about the water level in the river if the dam is removed, as well as exposure of septic systems and flooding.

Dyer said Eastgate is working with the sanitary engineer’s office and the EPA to try and install sanitary sewer lines in areas with septic systems that drain into the river.

Dyer said that while speaking to residents of that area, she also heard concerns about the disappearance of wildlife.

“Removing the dam does not mean the wildlife is going to disappear. It will showcase the wildlife. This will promote greater migration of fish along the river. You are not going to see the eagles disappear. The eagles don’t care if there is a dam or not ”, said Dyer.

She said the cuts would also make water recreation along the river safer, as dams have proven to be dangerous for boaters in the past.

She said business along the river could also improve once it becomes more accessible for recreation, citing the Cuyahoga River as an example.

“It just shows you how a community comes to life once you beautify a river and bring it back to its natural state” said Dyer.

The Leavittsburg Dam is unlikely to be removed for several years and will follow the Warren Summit Street Dam.

In August, Zachary Svette, Executive Director of Metroparks, estimated the preliminary costs of a technical study, environmental review, soil inspection and bridge inspection for the Leavittsburg Dam to be less than $ 25. $ 000.

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