Trutta Environmental Solutions

Dam Removal

There are millions of small dams located throughout the U.S.
The EPA has inventoried approximately 87,000 large dams and estimates between 2,000,000 to 2,500,000 small and medium sized dams in the U.S.. Small dams include those used for fishing ponds, amenity lakes, farm ponds, and old mill dams.

Major dam locations and ages in the U.S.

Dam removals are often necessary to improve river conditions
EPA data indicates a growing awareness of the need to address obsolete dams that impair our waterways. Many small dams have long since lost their original beneficial use or purpose and are becoming structurally unsound. The percentage of dams that no longer serve a functional purpose ranges from 75% to as high as 90%. These obsolete dams, regardless of size, are impacting the ecological quality of the river or stream where they are located.

Small, failing dam on a river in Alabama.
Source: Trutta Environmental Solutions

Small dam removals are on the rise for numerous reasons:
– ecological restoration;
– economic development of communities;
– addressing concerns with localized flooding;
– improvement of recreational opportunities;
– restoration of fish spawning and migration;
– addressing safety issues for recreational users due to dangerous hydraulics below dams;
– response to storm events and ensuring the safety of downstream communities;
– ongoing costs and liability for needed dam repairs, maintenance, or required upgrades to meet new safety or environmental standards.

Removal of a dam on the Roaring River in Tennessee. Trutta used its HDSS techniques to provide the pre-removal assessment data for this project.
Source: U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers

Trutta’s High Definition Stream Surveys are ideally suited to support dam removal projects
Dam removals are regulated by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Permit applications must undergo regulatory review. According to the EPA, the review process can be expedited by the quality and thoroughness of information submitted by the applicant.

Monitoring requirements may include baseline monitoring prior to dam removal, as well as post-project monitoring necessary to document changes to the river or stream as a result of the project. The Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines also may require a sediment quality evaluation that determines the nature of the contaminants and potential for adverse impacts.

Roaring River dam prior to removal.
Source: Trutta Environmental Solutions

High Definition Stream Surveys (HDSS) are designed to be fast, thorough and cost efficient. HDSS will provide the data necessary to expedite an application process, meet pre- and post-documentation and monitoring requirements, and answer sedimentation questions.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help with your dam removal project!

Representative Projects:
Dam Removal Monitoring: Big Canoe Creek, Alabama