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Moriah repairs Westport dam

Century-old deal makes Moriah responsible

It’s on private property. It’s in the town of Westport. So why did the town of Moriah repair a dam at North Pond?

It’s on private property. It’s in the town of Westport. So why did the town of Moriah repair a dam at North Pond?

— It’s on private property. It’s in the town of Westport. So why did the town of Moriah repair a dam at North Pond?

The answer lies in a century-old agreement.

Water from North Pond, which is located in a remote area in the town of Westport on private land now owned by Lyme Timber, at one time fed Bartlett Pond in Mineville, which is the town of Moriah water supply, Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava explained. An agreement between the two towns, reached about 100 years ago, made Moriah responsible for the maintenance of a dam at North Pond in exchange for water rights.

An inspection of the dam by the state Department of Environmental Conservation last year showed repairs were needed.

Moriah no longer uses North Pond as part of its water supply, but DEC demanded action from the town.

“North Pond dam has significant concrete deterioration, displaced stones and significant leakage through the dam,” Donald Canestrari, a DEC engineer, wrote to Scozzafava. “The water from the impoundment does not pass over the spillway, but passes through the dam as leakage.”

The dam is located three miles away from the nearest roadway, making it difficult to access with heavy equipment.

That remote location helped drive the estimated cost of the project to $250,000 — for a dam not in the town of Moriah, not used by the town and not owned by the town.

Scozzafava asked Jamie Wilson, Moriah highway superintendent, if his department could do the work at the dam cheaper than hiring a construction firm. The answer was a resounding, “Yes!”

Using Moriah highway workers and equipment, the dam was repaired for $16,000.

“It was a good project,” Wilson said. “We constructed a new spillway at the dam and met all the DEC requirements.”

Wilson praised Dominick Fontana of the DEC for working with the town on the project.

Scozzafava praised Wilson.

“This was going to cost our taxpayers a quarter of a million dollars,” the supervisor said. “This man (Wilson) went up there and saved us a lot of money.”

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