The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced Thursday that additional repair work at the Wyoming Upper Reservoir Dam will begin this week. DEM recently performed a major rehabilitation project of the dam which included repairs to the stonework, new water control gates on both sides of the dam, and a reinforced concrete abutment. During a routine inspection following the construction work, sinkholes were discovered on the upstream side of the concrete abutment. Repair work to address the sinkholes will take place this month on the pond-side of the dam, requiring the lowering of the water level of Wyoming Pond. The water level will be lowered slowly over the course of the next two to three weeks, with no more than three inches lowered per day.
During this period, there will be a visible change in the water level. Because of the lower water level, use of the boat ramp and fishing site may be impacted during the repair work. Once the water is low enough to perform the work, three to five days of construction activity is anticipated before the gates will be closed to allow the water level to return to normal. The work is expected to be completed and the water levels are anticipated to be restored to normal levels before Columbus Day weekend. The state-owned dam impounds the Wood River to form the 35-acre Wyoming Reservoir in the towns of Hopkinton and Richmond. It’s a popular site for both fishing and boating. DEM stocks the reservoir with trout.
As part of the statewide Dam Safety program, DEM inspects high hazard dams every two years and significant hazard dams every five years. The Wyoming Upper Reservoir Dam is state-owned and was DEM’s top priority for repairs as it was previously listed as a high hazard dam and since the flood control mechanisms were not operable, it was considered a potentially unsafe structure. The rehabilitation of the dam totaled $2.9 million dollars and was supported by the 2018 Green Economy Bond and RI Capital funds. For more information on DEM’s Dam Safety Program and to view the most recent dam safety report, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/complianceandinspection/dam-safety.php.
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