Author Topic: Facebook Group fighting Canal Safety & Improvement still mired in their Rhetoric  (Read 66 times)

Doug K

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Facebook Group fighting Canal Safety & Improvement still mired in their own "rhetoric"... good title. Could read Facebook Group continues to deny Canal Safety Issues... but no one likes to talk about they?

Every once in a while there is a ray of hope that emanates from within the ranks of the Facebook Group fighting against the Canal Embankment Integrity Program. Sometime it appears that they just might understand the safety issues they seem to be ignoring… And then someone in their group speak up on the internet and we see the truth.

Today that voice came from Mr. Brian Boroweic. To be sure we have confirmed he is member of the Facebook Group trying to stop canal safety work… at least as of January 26, 2020.

Mr. Boroweic is an intelligent person no doubt, as seen by his LinkedIn profile. He is a professional in the area of Product Quality and also understands Root Cause Analysis and how to create an 8D Corrective Action plan if you read through his credentials. I myself have a similar background as a Manufacturing Engineer and have also filled the role of Quality Engineer in the past, I can appreciate a position that a Quality Manager like Mr. B has.

Yet his recent postings on the Nextdoor Fairport App show a very different picture of this professional. A picture that seems to show someone that has simply abandoned their training & understanding of both Root Cause Analysis & Corrective Action to help mitigate problems that need resolution. The postings seems to show that beyond the facts, and the logic of the embankment safety issues Mr. Boroweic has made the mistake of letting his “environmental passion” get in the way of the truth & reality of the situation. I almost made that same mistake two and a half years ago when my neighbor’s came to me saying “they are clearing the trees…help us”.
I learned the only important fact about “clearing trees” to make a logical, reasonable, intelligent decision about whether to fight the Canal Corporation or work with them…why they were clearing trees. It was clearly about Public Safety and unequivocally being done for the protection and safety of Erie Canal Neighbors and the thousands of New York residents living below these “hidden dams” not knowing they were in the path of potential flooding.


Take a look at the post below discussing safety of the canal embankments where Mr. Borowiec shows he understands the idea is that the canal HAS flooded, HAS had issues in the past that show it is failing but the writer seems to then say doing anything the embankments themselves will not create a “maintenance-free” canal. He then asks if the Great Embankment should be cleared as well… our answer would be the same as the Canal Corporation there.. If it’s an Unsafe Embankment it must be cleared.

Up until now the entire discussion had been on the SAFETY of the Canal system in that discussion…none of what is being done with embankments is about trying to make it maintenance–free…hardly. We saw what maintenance free philosophy did already… left 80 years of overgrowth that has now made the canal embankment unsafe.

The post that Mr. Boroweic is talking about can be seem here, it was showing that the canal has broken or flooded 5 of the last 7 years and that those issues caused a need for emergency repair & closure:

If you take the time to read this ECNA post you will understand the point being made is that CONTRARY to the popular belief of some in our community (that there have been no other leakage from the Erie Canal except in 1974) the current state of the NY State Canal system is horrible. You will come to understand three facts:

1)   The Canal system has been deemed unsafe by the NYS Comptroller, it has unsafe earthen embankments for 125 miles of its 300+ mile length, according to both it’s owners, New York Power Authority and recent embankment inspections by certified Dam Engineers. These conditions need to repaired and THAT is what the embankment integrity program is slated to do.

2)   The Canal System has many areas that cannot be properly inspected due to the thick INVASIVE species growing out of an unsafe earthen embankment dam.

3)   None of these overgrown embankments meets the requirements for safety set by the Federal or State agencies who work to insure the public is kept safe from these types of aging infrastructure issues.

None of these statements are up for debate, these are the facts. This is what New York Power has to contend with since taking ownership. It is also what the NY Canal Corporation has to wrestle with as it finds a way to repair its public safety issues throughout the entire state of New York. All of this is to provide an answer, even 4 years late, to the NYS Comptroller who filed the initial safety report and put aside money to fix the issues

Yet Mr. Boroweic wants to ague the “semantics” of the Embankment Integrity Program. He states that because the embankments haven’t failed yet, there is nothing wrong with them. He says that the breaks shown haven’t happened on embankments or as a “result of trees”. And then the subject is changed somehow to clearing embankments won’t make them maintenance free. This all sounds way to much like the rhetoric coming from a Facebook group that has continued to fight about the TRUTH regarding Embankment Repair since the Canal Corporation started their work.

Sir, that is not the intention here, clearing embankment dams then making them SAFE again… and the Canal Corporation doesn’t have to report that the NYS Canal System has Unsafe Earthen Embankments anymore, that is what the Integrity Program is about.

Yes here’s is some of the argument being presented by Mr. Boroweic with a Founder of the Erie Canal Neighbors Association… which completely ignore Root Cause, Corrective Action and how the problem can be remedied. He simply changes the subject and says that all of the safety issues are simply a “money grab” and have no factual basis in public safety.

How can someone dedicated to Quality say these things? How can someone skilled in understanding Root Cause Analysis simply chose to dismiss all of the facts, science & engineering behind the statements about unsafe embankments and an unsafe canal system? How can someone not see reason and logic? Maybe they haven’t seen the guidelines being used…here’s one.

And Mr. Boroweic also mentioned he “felt” the timing or process used was somehow too long or too spaced out… well maybe he just hasn’t done his homework to understand that the Dam Rehabilitation is a multi-step, multi-year process, well documented and understood already. It’s all there for anyone to understand, especially someone as talented as Mr.B.


My message to Mr. Borowiec… and the general membership of the Facebook Group opposing canal improvement:
Your denial of the current Erie/Barge Canal safety issues doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t change any of the Embankment Hazard Safety Ratings, and it doesn’t fix any unsafe embankments. Your behavior seems to turn a blind eye to what neighbors living near these embankments have to face by those three words: Unsafe Embankment Dams.

Should we get Flood Insurance? We have been warned after all that we live near unsafe dams that can wash our houses away.

What do we tell potential buyers of our properties? Do we deny knowing there is an unsafe embankment next door and let them find out on their own? That is AGAINST the NYS Property Disclosure laws.

I wonder if Mr. Boroweic lives next to an unsafe embankments himself, maybe he would appreciate a “walk in another man’s shoes” For that matter has anyone fighting against embankment integrity improvements thought about the repercussions of their crusade to those who have been given Constructive Notice by our “neighbor”, the NY Canal Corporation?

The truth is that the Canal Corporation with overwhelming evidence from FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers and State DEC has shown the embankments have dangerous safety ratings. They have shown that the entire canal needs repair, not just embankments but culverts, dams and flood gates. They have identified most if not all of the ROOT CAUSES that have contributed to the current public safety issue. They have created a Corrective Action Plan as well, one that apparently doesn’t sit well with some in our community. It address all issues, including how to remove the issue with embankments that have critical safety ratings… that has to be resolved by restoring the dams with proper vegetative cover.

And someone with Mr.Borowiec’s credentials should know better.

He should do his homework and understand the REAL problem, the constraints to possible solutions and also the guidelines that have to be followed. From one professional to another… maybe you should take some time to perform a FMEA… Failure Mode Effect Analysis.

That is the best method to understand Root Cause and create a Corrective Action Plan.

Anytime Mr. Boroweic would like to discuss anything about Embankment Dams, Dam Safety, and Dam Remediation he is welcome to join the conversation here on the ECNA. You will not find the “shelter” of Nextdoor where neighbors aren't allowed to discuss “hot topics” or have “constructive disagreement”. We would love to discuss facts, and methods of restoring embankment dam safety & integrity. We would enjoy the chance to discuss more and maybe create a better solution than the one proposed now…invite your friends too.

But if you are going to deny the very essence of the issue… that the Canal System has 125 miles of unsafe embankments… maybe we better not start the discussion at all. It will go nowhere like it has for the past two years.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 07:42:59 pm by Doug K »

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Doug K

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A little more information for Mr. Boroweic
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2020, 05:21:02 pm »
Here's just a couple more guidelines & rules that have to followed in your pursuit of an 8D Corrective Action Plan

And more guidelines...or restrictions, depending on how you view them

Michael Caswell

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At the risk of becoming a little boring, I'm going to  go over Mr Boroweic's previous comments, because - well - they're confusing and wrong.

Michel, you seem quite intent to keep escalating this. Is there anything in my statement about Rizzo that suggests they may be crooks? Simply stated, they made money, as did the company they recommended. Do YOU believe that Rizzo are crooks? Why did you weave both words into the same sentence?

Your statement implies there is something wrong with making money."Rizzo made a boatload of dough recommending another company make a boatload of dough to clear embankments " Boatloads of money sounds pretty illegal or immoral to me.


You say -
I do not believe there to be a safety issue. I do believe there is a potential risk in having homes below water.

Despite all the documents we thrust under the noses of the members of the STCC (that includes you Brian), they all refuse to acknowledge there is a safety issue.  Yet, you state there is a potential risk of having homes being under water. If there is a risk of having homes below water (did you mean flooded, or that they are on the downside of a dam?), then surely that is a SAFETY ISSUE? Say yes Brian!

Now that we have established there is a safety issue, lets progress through your 'recommendations'.

 In the case of the embanked sections of the Erie Canal I believe those risks to be very low, evidenced by time and historical record.
So what do you base these beliefs on Brian? You're not a dam Engineer, hydrologist, arborist or have any skills, (See Linked-in) in the specialised field of water management, and design or maintenance of dams. All the real experts in these fields disagree with you.

It is my opinion that the underbrush should be removed,


trees that have a canopy that extend towards the water side over the midpoint of the embankment be removed.

Agreed! (I'll take any amount of trees off these dams - we'll deal with the rest later) So now we have all the brush gone and trees probably 1/4 to 1/3rd of the way down the slope.

Now you will have removed a large number of trees, which would make the 'edge' of the woodland much more susceptible to a blow-down, this would in turn make their root balls heave, leaving gaping holes in the embankment. Furthermore, how would the machinery needed to remove the roots of the felled trees access the area? How would the toe of slope be extended. How would all the gaping furrows in the Fairport dam be repaired?
From 31F to Ayrault Rd there are at least 6 grooves 8-10 feet deep and 10-15' wide, all dramatically weakening the embankment. Many of these have 150 tall Cottonwoods growing right in the middle of the groove.

(as those trees would likely have root structures that may extend towards the water beyond the midpoint), and the wooded embankments be maintained to minimize annual encroachment of undergrowth, then carry on human inspections that would have their effectiveness and thoroughness enhanced by unobstructed vision of the embankment.

The problem I find with this is that you are proposing a task which would be extremely difficult to implement,  operating machinery while balancing on a very steep slope, and having to work around obstacles, putting workers at risk and making OSHA wince.  I doubt it would last as a continuing task for long.

 I have long maintained that the root driver of this project is to facilitate drone inspection of the embankments. A drone can fly the length of the canal in a day or two, and cost far less than 20 part time workers walking the embankment.

"root driver" This is the main reason the Canal Corporation wants to remove all the vegetation?

A grass covered embankment can be mowed is a fraction of the time that it would take to maintain a wooded embankment's ground surface, so another cost reduction.


This wasn't a slap to the forehead realization that folks were in peril and the embankments needed overhaul. This was a budget move that was initiated after the control of the canal changed hands.

You're saying the canal system did not need overhauling and repair? Obviously, you have not been there and looked at the state of  our canal system. I'll gladly meet with you and take you on a tour.

You should really read this  ---
« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 07:43:40 pm by Doug K »