Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Where is the Upper Bondsville Dam located?

A

The Upper Bondsville Dam is located in Palmer, Massachusetts in Hampden County. The Upper Bondsville Dam is located along the Swift River approximately 5.5 miles downstream of the Windsor Dam at the Quabbin Reservoir.

GPS Latitude 42.219085, Longitude -72.340844

Q

Where is the Swift River located?

A

The Swift River flows directly from the Quabbin Reservoir Spillway in Belchertown, Massachusetts and flows over the Upper Bondsville Dam.

Q

How old is the Upper Bondsville Dam?

A

This dam was reportedly constructed in 1900.

Q

Who owns the Upper Bondsville Dam?

A

The Dam is owned by the Belchertown Land Trust, “BLT”.

http://www.privatelandownernetwork.org/yellowpages/resource.aspx?id=14573

http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/home.html

Q

Who over see’s/regulates dam safety in Massachusetts?

A

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Mass DCR”, Office of Dam Safety requires dams to be registered with the state and recorded with the registry of deeds.

MGL Chapter 253 Section 10.05

http://www.mass.gov/dcr/pe/damSafety/index.htm

Q

How is the condition or status of a dam described?

A

In accordance with the Massachusetts Dam Safety Statute, dams are described in terms of their “hazard potential”.

Hazard potential classifications include; high hazard potential, significant hazard potential and low hazard potential.

http://www.mass.gov/dcr/pe/damSafety/index.htm

Q

What is the status of the Upper Bondsville Dam?

A

In February 2008, the Mass DCR, Office of Dam Safety determined the Upper Bondsville Dam to be an intermediate size dam in “poor” condition with a significant hazard potential.

Significant hazard potential is defined as: “may cause loss of life and property damage in the event of dam failure”.

http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/dcrdamsafetyorder.pdf

Q

What did the Mass DCR, Office of Dam Safety base their February 2008 findings on?

A

These findings were based on an inspection completed by the Root Engineering Firm in June 1999.

Q

What did the Mass DCR, Office of Dam Safety order the BLT (dam owner) to do?

A

The BLT was ordered to “bring the dam into compliance and complete all repair, breach, or removal work no later than November 31, 2009.”

http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/dcrdamsafetyorder.pdf

With the assistance of state legislatures, the BLT applied for and was granted an extension to this deadline with the requirement that they complete and report evaluations every 6 months until such time as the dam is brought into compliance.

Q

What other studies have been completed on the Upper Bondsville Dam?

A

In March 2009, Tighe & Bond Inc., Engineering Firm determined the dam to be in “poor” condition.

http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/MA00560%20Bondsville%20Upper%20Dam_Palmer%202009-03-20.pdf

In December 2009, Fay Engineering determined the dam to be in “fair” condition.

http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/resources/bondsvilledam/fayreport020810.pdf

In June 2010, Milone & MacBroom, Inc., determined the dam to be in need of repair and discussed aspects of dam repair versus dam removal.

http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/resources/bondsvilledam/milonereport061510.pdf

Q

What is the BLT (dam owner) planning to do?

A

The BLT enlisted the services of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission “PVPC” who under a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, planned to assist the BLT to investigate options for removing/repairing the dam.

http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/resources/bondsvilledam/pvpcgrantproposal.pdf

While the BLT states they will investigate all options, they voice a plan to remove the dam as soon as possible and have investigated grant funding for the purpose of removing the dam.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/12/belchertown_land_trust_directo_1.html

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/12/belchertown_land_trust_will_lo.html

Q

What will happen if the Upper Bondsville Dam is removed?

A

Removal of the Upper Bondsville Dam would permanently alter the Swift River, eradicating acres of wetlands and having an adverse effect on the numerous species living in the wetland habitat.

Q

What is the Swift River Preservation Association, “SRPA”?

A

The SRPA is a non-profit organization that was formed for the purpose of preserving the Upper Bondsville Dam and Swift River. The SRPA is comprised of a group of individuals that are deeply committed to ensuring the existence of this unique ecosystem for generations to come.

Q

What are the estimated costs of removing or repairing the Upper Bondsville Dam?

A

The costs of removal and repair have been cited in estimation to be between $350,000 and $548,000. However these figures have not been substantiated and have also been cited as being higher than and lower than the actual costs of removal or repair.

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