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Dam repairs in Madrid begin next week

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MADRID - Repairs to the town’s Mill Dam on the Grasse River will begin next week.

Dam remediation committee chairman Alan L. Finnegan told the town board last night that work on the 116-year-old dam will begin Monday, starting with patch repairs to the concrete spillway which is the wall over which the river water flows. Then one of the two cement bulkheads that bracket the spillway will be repaired.

The town just this week received final approval of its work permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We’re now all set to go,” Mr. Finnegan said. “If everything goes all right, we’ll start on Monday.”

The DEC has imposed a Sept. 15 deadline in the permit for the town to get as much of the job done as it can. Mr. Finnegan said the second bulkhead may have to wait until next summer.

“My own personal hope is that we’ll get to the spillway and southern abutment (bulkhead) inside the DEC window,” he said.

The spillway repairs will be made possible by lowering the river’s water level by pulling out pine stop logs from the dam wall, sending the water around the spillway into the downstream.

But a lack of rain already has lowered the water level. Pulling out the pine stop logs may be kept to a minimum if needed at all.

“We’re not going to be doing much more than Mother Nature is doing right now,” Mr. Finnegan said.

The dam repair is paid for by a $60,000 grant from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency.

The work will be done by the town highway department and, possibly later, a contractor.

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