Author Topic: Macedon - Palmyra Erie Canal Embankment Breach - You Decide  (Read 66 times)

Doug K

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There have been very few news articles on this "near-miss" along the Erie Canal in Macedon & Palmyra, since half the water spilled out of the Canal at the Lock 29 & 30 navigation pool. That happened on May 11th, and the Canal Corporation is still trying to repair the damage and get the canal waterway back into operation. Here's one from the local Auburn Pub:

The NY Canal Corporation is trying to fill the BREACH with soil, and will also try using something called a "Aqua Dam" in an attempt to seal water flow against the newly patched HOLE in the side of earthen embankment that let go... more on that temporary solution later.

The Canal Corporation has set the root cause as a "leaky" aqueduct, that had eroded away the supporting structure over 2 years, and in an instant, the canal went from useable to closed for travel "until further notice". Maybe the best pictures of the incident were captured by John Kucko which I have shown here for reference. You can see the BREACH circled and the escaping water runoff is shown as well.

It's a very nice picture of a "near catastrophe", and quick thinking on the NYS Canal Corporation's part, to reduce water immediately, most likely prevented a much larger breach of this earthen impoundment.

And John's great drone work also helps show what MOST PEOPLE seem to be missing when they look at the canal... it's made up of some very long & tall earthen embankments that are holding back millions of gallons of water from the surrounding, low-lying areas.

Let's look just at the LEFT side of that last picture... you will see the highlights that show the Earthen Dam. It's raised about 20-25' by the looks of it, and below is a freshly cleared farm field. Look at the steep slope of that embankment in the lower left corner of the pictures

What, you say that you can't see the Earthen Embankment Dam?

Well that's probably because it's covered with trees that need to be cleared, it's hiding underneath them. And those TREES need to be removed because tall trees also are a hazard to these "shorter" canal embankments, mostly due to blowdown potential and root seepage.

Those tree are why the Canal Corporation has been working to clear the excessive vegetation on these 100 year old dams and make them safe again. They can't properly inspect these earthen water impoundments due to the overgrowth, and certainly all that vegetation hampered their current repairs in this section. They have a new Dam Integrity PROGRAM being developed & released to mitigate the embankment safety issue.

The Macedon / Palmyra Canal repair is still ongoing, more embankment soil is being brought in and a temporary repair will be made, using a "portable coffer dam", until the owners of the Canal System can create a more permanent solution later in the season.

Take a look at the Aqua Dam, which is "water holding back water".  It's a very unique solution, and more importantly, it can be installed easily.

And make no mistake.. this is an Earthen Embankment, and it FAILED due to water erosion, even if some folks don't want to see it, believe it or acknowledge. So the answer to this particular "dam failure" is to bring in a "portable dam" that's worth it's weight in "water"

Here's a picture of that same area, using the NYS Dam Registry Mapping Tool, that interacts with Google Maps. It shows the difference in Canal Bank elevation over the surrounding area best.

If you want to read more about this canal breach, we suggest you read the following post on our Forum. It will show even more details about this embankment failure, and also highlight a group that is still denying safety issues along the Erie Canal, even when presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary like this raised embankment failure.'s-stop-the-canal-clearcut-founder-has-been-wrong-all-along-nothing-new/msg1485/#msg1485

Hopefully this is a wake-up call to ALL Canal Neighbors about the "hidden danger" in their own backyards.

It's time to STOP IGNORING the problems of an unsafe NYS Canal System running through our Towns & Villages

It's time to hold the NYS Canal Corporation ACCOUNTABLE and demand that they start to CLEAR and REPAIR the Erie Canal and the rest of the Canal System's earthen dams.

It's time to STAND UP AGAINST those in our community, who would minimize the SAFETY of New Yorkers in our area, those saying "shade" is more important than public safety.

It's time for CANAL NEIGHBORS to speak up and SILENCE anyone who would IGNORE the TRUTH about the sad condition of our NYS Canal System.

If you are NEIGHBOR of the Erie Canal, if your house or property lies adjacent to and BELOW the Canal Embankments, it's time you START THINKING about the SAFETY of your FAMILY & your HOME and ask the Canal Corporation to REPAIR their safety issues and RESTORE your "peace of mind".

An Erie Canal Embankment Breach can wash away all your hard work, and all you hold dear... in an instant.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2021, 12:09:24 pm by Doug K »

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