WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The city is moving one step closer to the possible removal of the Tekoa reservoir dam in Montgomery.
Westfield City Council’s natural resources committee gave a unanimous affirmative vote to accept a $1.63 million grant from the state to commission a study on the Tekoa reservoir dam last night, moving the process on to the council’s finance committee. The grant, if it is accepted by full city council, will merely OK a study on the removal of the dam and whether or not its removal would be feasible.
Westfield Department of Public Works (DPW) director David Billips said that the removal of the dam would be a wise decision due to safety concerns.
“I’m worried that the dam would fail,” Billips said. “Another reason we want to remove it is for the safety of people walking on the dam; it’s about 30 feet high.”
And according to Billips, walking on the dam is prohibited but apparently ignored.
Billips was clear though, that in spite of what may have been on the natural resources committee’s docket—which said that this measure was for the removal of the dam—this measure was actually to commission and fund the study needed on the feasibility of removing the dam.
“This isn’t to take the dam down, this is a study to look at removing the dam,” he said. “And it’s 100 percent grant, no money needed from the city.”
Additionally, Billips said that the committee and city council has to act on the grant quickly, since the state will rescind its offer by June 30.
With the removal of the dam, Billips said that it would put “things back to its natural state,” meaning that Moose Meadow Brook, which was dammed off for the reservoir in 1874, would possibly flow with more water.
Billips is concerned that if the project does not move forward, the dam will inevitably fail in the future, which could cause significant damage.
“It is going to fail someday,” he said. “It may not be a loss of life but it will be costly.”
The reservoir was previously used by Westfield to provide drinking water to its residents, but it was permanently put offline due to water quality issues in 1974.
- Westfield- $150,000 grant
- The Tekoa Reservoir Dam, located on Moose Meadow Brook in Montgomery. The dam impounds a reservoir that can provide water for the City of Westfield, but has not been used for this purpose in years. The City determined the reservoir is no longer needed as a potential water supply, therefore they will be removing of the 32 foot tall, 200 foot wide dam.