Souhegan dam repairs expected to be complete early this month

  • In Greenville, the Souhegan River is low, revealing muddy banks, as repairs to the Otis Falls Dam continue.

  • In Greenville, the Souhegan River is low, revealing muddy banks, as repairs to the Otis Falls Dam continue. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • In Greenville, the Souhegan River is low, revealing muddy banks, as repairs to the Otis Falls Dam continue. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • In Greenville, the Souhegan River is low, revealing muddy banks, as repairs to the Otis Falls Dam continue. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT

  • In Greenville, the Souhegan River is low, revealing muddy banks, as repairs to the Otis Falls Dam continue. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Souhegan River is low, revealing muddy banks, as repairs to the Otis Falls Dam continue. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/4/2019 4:27:20 PM

After several weeks with low flow conditions, the Souhegan River in Greenville is expected to return to its normal level by November, following repairs to the Otis Falls dam.

Residents saw the strip of the Souhegan running through Greenville drop in July, while repairs were made to the headgate at the Otis Falls dam. Repairs to the same dam are also the reason for current water levels.

Spotting the growing banks of the river in the fall isn’t that unusual, said Greenville Fire Chief Charles Buttrick. The fire department is located right on the banks of the mill pond, and he’s had a prime view of the rise and fall of the water level over the years.

“I have seen it this low before,” Buttrick said, adding there’s generally a drop in the water level in the fall, when the state inspects the dams during the dry end of summer, to avoid “contending with mother nature” and summer rains.

“Whether this is lower than last year, I can’t really say,” Buttrick said. “But I’ve seen it where I can almost walk across it, in my lifetime. I’ve seen it where it’s nothing but a trickle going through the center of the mill pond. So it’s not that unusual to me.”

The Otis Falls dam is located at Main Street in Greenville. The Otis Falls dam, as well as the adjacent Chamberlain Falls dam, are operated by Alpine Pacific Utilities Hydro, which bought both dams in July of 2018.

Justin Ahmann, owner of Alpine Pacific Utilities Hydro, said in an email to the Ledger-Transcript that current repairs are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

“Alpine Pacific Utilities Hydro, LLC has been diligently making several maintenance repairs to the facility at the Otis Pond in Greenville throughout the summer,” Ahmann wrote. “We sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience while we make these restorations safely. With the cooperation of all the stakeholders involved, we expect the repairs to be completed in early September and water levels back to normal conditions in November.”

Steve Donyon, administrator of dam safety and inspections for the state’s dam bureau, said repairs to the dam have been ongoing throughout the summer.

“Since spring [Alpine Pacific Utilities] has been doing repairs to the low-level gate, and so the lake has been up and down for the past few months,” Donyon said.

In an email between Donyon and Ahmann on Aug. 15, Ahmann indicated the current repair, ongoing this week, should be the last for the year.

Currently, the upper regions of the Souhegan River, which includes the Greenville portion of the waterway, is under monitoring by the state for low-flow conditions. Under these conditions, the town is requesting, users of its public water system to take steps to conserve water. Town Administrator Tara Sousa said Thursday the request for water conservation tactics is voluntary, and is a step outlined in the town’s water use plan, due to the Souhegan’s status as a protected river. 

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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