Gorge Dam Public Hearing in Cuyahoga Falls Tuesday Evening
The public is invited to hear an update on plans for the largest dam on the Cuyahoga River at a meeting this evening in Cuyahoga Falls. The Ohio EPA would like to tear down the Gorge Dam but President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts raise new questions.
Two years ago consultants estimated tearing down the 400 foot long Gorge Dam would cost about $72 million. Most of that would be spent on hauling away 90,000 truckloads of sediment that has built up over the past 100 years. It’s not toxic, but it would need to be deposited somewhere nearby and slowly dried out.
The Ohio EPA had already taken out 4 smaller dams on the river and figured it could use a revolving loan fund established by the federal government in the late 1980’s to pay for the dam removal. That fund does remain in the Trump budget proposal but the overall EPA budget is slashed 31%. Other water-related funds like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the USDA Rural Development water and wastewater loan program would be eliminated.
EPA officials say removing the Gorge dam would improve the health of the mostly stagnant dam pool, and it would reveal the original Cuyahoga Falls for the first time in a century.