Dam renovation project set to begin

Work on the village of Potsdam’s East Dam will begin in the next week as part of the $4 million agreement with New York Power Authority. The dam is a money maker for the village and is expected to generate enough energy to pay off NYPA and municipal power bills. Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — Work is scheduled to get underway this week on the Village’s East Dam Hydro-Renovation Project following a Thursday pre-construction meeting with officials from the village, New York Power Authority and engineers.

Village Administrator Gregory O. Thompson said the first steps in the project will consist of removing gearboxes from the hydro plant at 2 Raymond St., which will then be taken to Montreal where they will be completely rebuilt.

“Other than that, they will be bringing job trailers in,” Mr. Thompson said “They want to be rolling at 100 percent within the next 10 days.”

The Village Board, during its Jan. 20 meeting, approved a $2.9 million contract with the Wisconsin-based Eaton Corp. as part of the $4 million renovation of the East Power Dam, which was designed and constructed in 1983. The payment plan on the project will span 180 months.

“The first crane should be coming in to remove the first unit in the first two weeks of February, and we’ll go from there,” Mr. Thompson said. “They will have to crab walk it down Raymond Street and up the alley behind Market Street and get it into place behind East Dam Hydro.”

To avoid any traffic delays, Mr. Thompson said the crane will be brought in during morning hours, and it will take about a day to remove each unit with three separate “picks” for each generator.

“Where the crane will go in, it will pull the generator out, then it will go in for a second pick and pull out the superstructure, which is the I-beams, and what have you, and then it will go in a third time for the turbines and water bearings,” he said. “And then when they bring it back there will actually be four (picks), because the fourth one will set the gearboxes. But because the gear boxes will already be out, we don’t have to worry about them.”

The project is scheduled to conclude on July 16, allowing two weeks between the end of the work and the sunset date for the grant money, allowing for any last-minute work that may arise.

Once completed, the plant will generate more power, and that will lead to the generation of more money than the village will need to make the payment, he said.

“The dam will essentially pay for itself and some toward our electric bills, if everything works out as they have been planned,” Mr. Thompson previously told the Times. “We’re looking forward to it and as time goes on we’ll hopefully be able to apply more towards the power bills as we move through the 180-month period.”

The hydroelectric plant and the water treatment plant are part of the same building at 2 Raymond St., and they share the same power, so as a part of the project the engineers are also going to divide the power in order to power down the hydroelectric plant without interrupting the water treatment plant.

“Everything is a go,” Mr. Thompson said. “The village is completely confident, the contractors are completely confident. We’re literally excited about this project.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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