First constructed in the 1850s, Seymour Dam is located across the Bladens River, immediately upstream of its confluence with the Naugatuck River in Seymour, Connecticut. Its original purpose was to provide hydraulic power and cooling water for the Kerite Company, a manufacturer of high-voltage electrical cable founded in 1854 by Austin Goodyear Day, nephew of Charles Goodyear.
“Kerite was an important company, which installed the power cable under New York Harbor in the late 1800s, and supplied cable for the Panama Canal in the early 1900s,” said Hans Hasnay, of WSP, who is a member of the project team.
The dam was rebuilt around 1918, but wear and tear over time gradually overwhelmed the stone structure, deteriorating to the point where it was causing significant water issues—particularly in an adjacent building where water was continually filling up the basement through floor cracks and elevator shafts. During the most recent inspection—which the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection requires every seven years for dams—numerous deficiencies were discovered.
At that point, the facility owner, Marmon Utility, determined that the most practical solution was to remove the dam entirely.
“Since the dam does not serve a purpose for the company any longer, Marmon Utility desired to remove the dam to relieve their financial liabilities and regulatory burdens, eliminate repair and maintenance costs, and reduce high water table issues.” Hasnay said.
Marmon Utility selected WSP, in partnership with Princeton Hydro, to provide engineering design, permitting, contractor procurement, construction administration and inspection for the removal project. Allan Estivalet serves as project manager for WSP, and Jim Sobieraj is the principal-in-charge.