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Local Government: Case Studies and Challenges in Dam Removal

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NJ communities are exploring dam removal as an alternative to the continued repair costs and liability associated with dam ownership.

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As of 2018, local governments owned 34 percent of New Jersey’s 1,700 regulated dams. Like all infrastructure, these 578 dams need periodic inspection and repair. The average life expectancy of a dam is 50 years, but in New Jersey, the average dam is closer to 60 years old. Advancing age can make dams more susceptible to failure, and as dams get older, deterioration increases and repair costs rise.

County and municipal governments are beginning to explore, support and even lead dam removals in their towns and counties where removal is a possibility. In addition to eliminating the ongoing cost of inspection and repair, removing a dam can eliminate a public safety threat and, in some cases, can decrease the frequency of localized flooding. Visitors seeking the recreational opportunities in area restored river can give a welcome boost to local businesses, creating positive economic change. In this session, we’ll look at a case study where a municipality is managing their own dam removal and hear from four other towns in various stages of removal processes. Municipal and county dam owners will benefit from this session and so will the contractors and consultants that may work with them.


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Organizer NJ Statewide Dam Removal Partnership

Organizer of Local Government: Case Studies and Challenges in Dam Removal

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