NRCS Presents $26.6 Million Draft Plan For Millsite Dam Rehab

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A public hearing was held in the commission room of Emery County Tuesday afternoon so the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) could explain the proposed draft for the reconstruction of Millsite Dam.

The dam was constructed in 1971 as storage for the Ferron Canal Company. It again received improvements in the 1990s. Congress then approved the rehabilitation of the dam in 2002 to help the owners upgrade their aging structure for the for many reasons, including the fact that the structure service life had been reached, functions were impaired, there had been changes in technology, changes in the watershed and dam safety regulations needed upgrading.

Two alternatives were presented by NRCS representatives Norm Evenstead and Eric Dixon. First would be to leave the dam as it is, which eventually will bring a mandate to breach the dam with no federal assistance. The second would be a rehabilitation alternative, which would access a 65/35% cost share plan. The owners 35% could be in-kind materials, labor and help from the Dam Safety Funds.

Rehabilitation construction would include downstream slope excavation, foundation excavation and backfill, outlet works extension, spillway removal and reconstruction, a new berm and downstream slope reconstruction. The present spillway can pass 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and needs to be able to let 30,000 cfs through. The bank of the dam does not meet current filtering or seismic criteria.

Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2016 and finish in November 2017. The schedule is built with consideration for golfing and camping as well as irrigation and culinary requirements from the Ferron Creek. Bids are expected to be opened in early June and awarded in mid-June.

At the time of the meeting considering current bids and estimations, the cost of this rehabilitation looks to be approx. $26.6 million.  However, the project mangers have budgeted $28 million in case of extraneous circumstances.  The owners of the dam include Ferron Canal and Reservoir Company, Ferron City, Emery County, Emery County Water Conservancy District, San Rafael Soil Conservation District and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources at Millsite State Park.

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