A dam on the Pawcatuck River which could pose a threat to homes downstream if it fails could soon be removed

As you look at the White Rock Dam on the Pawcatuck River you see that water quickly flowing through the end nearest the Rhode Island side of the river.

That’s just one concern for conservationists.

“The weak spot is over there,” says Nils Wiberg who is with the engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill which plans to remove the dam. “You can see the water’s rushing through. That’s a low level outlet and so that’s one of the areas that has failed.”

The stone masonry wall above it is also falling apart and the heavy rain expected with Tuesday’s storm isn’t going to help.

Wiberg says the damage done by the floods of 2010 left the dam in poor condition.

“Every storm that comes through it just gets a little bit worse so it’s only a matter of time,” says Wiberg.

He hopes to control the situation by removing the dam before any storm does.

“If this dam were to fail there would be a surge of water downstream which could affect those properties,” says Wiberg who adds those properties could be underwater.

The removal of the dam is also expected to help restore migratory fisheries in the river which separates Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The cost could be half a million to a million dollars with much of it offset by grants from the US Fish and Wildlife and NOAA.

“That’s where the funding is coming from,” says Wiberg. “From the Superstorm Sandy grants.”

Right now the engineering firm is in the permitting process and we’re told removal of this dam could begin next July.

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