Seward Wins Gilboa Dam Vote

James L. Seward

March 01, 2006

The safety of residents in the Schoharie Valley downstream of the Gilboa Dam took a step forward today when the state senate approved senate bill 6415A, which requires the state Department of Environmental Conservation to undertake an enhanced inspection program of high hazard dams.

The measure is sponsored by Senators James L. Seward and John Bonacic, whose districts host a number of NYC owned and maintained dams.

"The legislation will provide improved oversight and it requires more detailed state involvement in the regulation of dams like the one at Gilboa," Seward said. "We have seen the woeful lack of city maintenance and state oversight of the Gilboa Dam, and the senate is moving to ensure that the city and state step up and take this more seriously."

The bill would: 1) Require the DEC to undertake a detailed analysis of the structural integrity of high hazard dams maintained or operated by the City of New York in the counties of Delaware, Greene, Orange, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster on an annual basis; 2) Require the city DEP to explain to the DEC its past and planned maintenance on each dam; 3) Require the DEC and DEP to provide their dam inspection reports to local officials where the dams are situated.

Several other bills are pending related to the Gilboa Dam. Seward has provided state funding to assist local governments with their costs of responding to the elevated danger level associated with the dam; has held meetings with the DEP and the mayor’s office, and pressed the DEC to ensure that the city’s plans for reconstruction of the dam include flood control and are built to the highest safety and construction standards.

"There’s more to be done, and I will continue my efforts to make sure people in the Schoharie Valley can sleep without fear that a rain or snowmelt will burst the dam," Seward said.

The bill is pending in the assembly.