Author Topic: NY Canal Corporation changes direction on Erie Canal Embankment Safety  (Read 52 times)

Doug K

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If you haven't seen the latest NYS Canal Corporation Erie Canal Embankment Integrity Plans, take a look at their website and see the newly released draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dGEIS).

https://www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/index.html

This is been an expected final version of their "scoping document" that outlines what issues the Canal Corporation expects to find, and are prepared to handle, as they work to repair the next 100 miles of unsafe, overgrown canal embankments along their expansive NYS Canal System. You can read the entire dGEIS document by clicking the link below:

https://www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/EEIP_Final_Scope.pdf

Now some folks may be saying that this document is nothing new, but actually it shows how the Canal Corporation will handle just about any issue that might arise, as well as insuring they have adequate protection from have their work stopped by well-meaning, "pseudo-environmentalist", like Facebook's Stop the Canal Clear-Cut Group.

Gone are all references to FEMA guidelines as well as those from the Army Corps of Engineers. They have been replaced with New York State based Guidelines for Dams, and Dam Safety, along with using the Laws of the State to insure all issues with flora & fauna are properly taken care of.

Here's the a few highlights from the new Scoping Document for the dGEIS, part of a required State Environmental Review Process







Of key importance... NYPA, that's the New York Power Authority who now owns and manages the NYS Canal Corporation and the Erie Canal, has decided to partner with their longtime help on all things related to Dam Safety in NYS...that's the State DEC Agency.


https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/4991.html



And the Earthen Embankment Integrity Program, that new safety program that will address unsafe tree covered embankment dams and improve public safety in many Erie Canal centric New York communities... it will be using the State Guidelines for Dam Safety and Maintenance.

Here's a few sections from that new manual to outline the same story that the Canal Corporation has stated all along, Trees on Dams have to go.







You can go read the entire NYS Dam Safety Guide guide using the link below... but be aware. It is EXTENSIVE and covers everything that the "new" New York State Canal Corporation will follow under their NEW owners, New York Power Authority. That's a company that has a long history of putting safety first, ESPECIALLY when it comes to Safety of the Public.


https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/damguideman.pdf
« Last Edit: February 05, 2021, 03:35:59 pm by Doug K »

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Doug K

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And here's the set of NYS DEC Guidelines, Rules and Regulations regarding Dams and Dam Safety.

https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Browse/Home/NewYork/NewYorkCodesRulesandRegulations?guid=I06198200b5a111dda0a4e17826ebc834&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)

And by definition, most if not all Erie Canal Embankments do qualify as NY Registry qualified Dams according to NY State regulations. The Erie Canal embankments qualify both in height of the Embankment Dam and by how much water these embankments impound.



https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I4ed75671cd1711dda432a117e6e0f345?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)


According to the math regarding water volume of a canal shaped like a prism, there are 1 Million gallons of water impounded behind  every 120 feet of raised canal embankment length. Any Erie Canal embankment, longer than 360' will meet the minimum amount of impounded water to be considered a dam, which is 3 million gallons.

Just a couple FYIs:

The NYS Canal Corporation has also stated publicly that over 200 million gallons of water could escape, in any flood event along it's waterway, in the event of a breach, anywhere the canal is raised above the surrounding landscape, before they can shutoff the supply with the nearest guard gates.

And the NYS Canal Corporation has also stated clearly that these earthen Canal Embankments are in fact Medium to High Hazard Dams, which also qualifies them so be repaired per this same NYS Laws & Statutes on Dams & Dam Safety





https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I4ed7566ecd1711dda432a117e6e0f345?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)
 

« Last Edit: February 08, 2021, 09:26:10 am by Doug K »

Doug K

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The New York Power Authority, often called NYPA, is the new owner of the Erie Canal, the NYS Canal Corporation, and the entire NYS Canal System. They took ownership in 2017, with the promise to Governor Cuomo that they would repair the ailing canal, and that NO TAXPAYER MONEY would be used to operate & maintain the canal system from that day on.

Prior Erie Canal ownership had allowed the entire canal system to become unsafe, outdated and in desperate need of a total safety inspection & proper maintenance throughout the NYS Canal System.

The NY Power Authority is also a seasoned Dam Owner, having worked since the 1930s providing New Yorkers with electrical power, both for commercial use and residential customers. They have a long history of working with impounded water, behind dams of all kinds, to create that electricity. They were up for the challenge, and had plans to "reimagine the canal" to reinvent it, and make it New York State's Recreational Destination.

This may only be part of the reason why they took over the Canal System in 2017. Because it is no secret that the NYS canal Corporation has some major work to do on 125 miles of their Erie Canal System dams... the earthen embankment type. Many folks have said that the Canal Corporation isn't up for the task itself. After years of not being allowed to repair their canal system, they had lost valuable resources needed to run such an extensive public safety program.

But what these people don't know is that NYS Canal Corporation can easily partner with MANY engineering firms in the State, to fix issues with unsafe embankment dams. In fact they have been using them right along, when their annual budget for Maintenance & Safety allowed it.

Companies like Rizzo Engineering has done inspections recently, and Ravi Engineering worked alongside them on their initial Embankment Restoration Project from Middleport to Brockport. Bergmann Engineering is also partnering with NYPA and the NYS Canal Corporation already to do Breach simulations and create Emergency Action Plans for first responders to use in the event the canal embankments fail, causing a flood event.

Here's a couple examples from Ravi & Bergmann, webpage links are provided for more detail.





https://www.bergmannpc.com/project/lock-e-33-dam-breach-analysis






https://ravieng.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ErieCanalCulvert83EmergencyRepair.pdf



So feel confident that the Erie Canal Embankment Repair is in good hands, and those hands have even more hands helping. The naysayers who say that fixing the embankment safety issues on the Erie Canal is "too big" a project for either the NY Power Authority or the NY Canal Corporation are wrong.

But what else is expected from people who can't see the "bigger picture".
« Last Edit: February 08, 2021, 07:40:22 pm by Doug K »