Ohio EPA to Release Study on Gorge Dam Removal

The Ohio Edison or Gorge Dam was built in 1913 and used as a hydro-electric generator until 1958. (photo:Urycki)

The Ohio EPA has demolished four dams on the Cuyahoga River in the past decade but the next one could be a doozie.   The Gorge Dam in Cuyahoga Falls is about 60 feet high and has been holding back sediment for a little over 100 years. 

Thursday evening, the agency will release details from a new study on the dam.  The public meeting is at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium at 6:30pm.  Ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports.

 

The Gorge Dam is sometimes called the Ohio Edison Dam for the electric company that owns it.  The EPA believes removing it would improve water quality behind it and downstream so agency spokesman Linda Oros says they hired a company to do some measurements.

“This group had a look at what it would take to remove the structure and the sediment behind it and so forth and get a financial estimate together on what would be involved to get that done.” 

Estimates have ranged in the tens of millions of dollars.  Ohio Edison once operated a coal fired power plant next to the dam and some runoff from that plant may be still be trapped in the sediment behind the dam.  EPA officials say as much as 800,000 cubic feet of material is there and some of it could be toxic.  So, maybe it’s possible the dam will stay?

“It’s possible.” 

But not likely. EPA officials want it removed and have had success in restoring the water habitat after removing dams in Kent, Munrose Falls, and downtown Cuyahoga Falls. 

Also, area kayakers are salivating at the thought of the white water that could return. What also could return are the 25 foot double falls that Cuyahoga Falls was named after.  They are now underwater behind the dam pool.  

 

Mark.Urtycki@ideasttream.org

 

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