I just talked about the Terry Brook Reservoir Dam and how it is considered a 'high-hazard' dam, meaning one that would cause potential loss of life and significant property loss if it would fail. Now the TBR dam has been classified as in "poor" condition, one step above unsafe but as I talked about in the last post it looks like a plan of action to rehab it is underway.
I also talked about the fact that Fall River is responsible for several other dams and from what I can tell there are plans to do some maintenance on several of them.
However, there is another 'high-hazard' dam that like the Terry Brook is in poor condition and this one IS IN Fall River. The Cook Pond Dam is classified as a 'high-hazard' dam that is in poor condition. The dam was last inspected in January of 2007, over 3 years ago! I know what you're thinking; I mentioned other dams before and mentioned plans to do maintenance on several of them. So now you're probably thinking well what plans does the city have to repair the Cook Pond Dam? Well the problem is the city doesn't own it, it's privately owned by Ricci Associates.
You only have to look as far as Freetown and the troubles they've had with the Forge Pond Dam to see the problems we could be in for. For over a decade the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation tried to have the private owner of the Forge Pond Dam to make needed repairs. He refused to comply. Finally in 2007 the state stepped in when there was a fear of failure. Finally just last month the dam was once again feared to be near collapse. However the private owner has passed away and the dam apparently is in the hands of the town or the state. Now the state is moving ahead and plans to demolish the dam are underway. While it's true that the Cook Pond Dam is classified as being in better condition than the Forge Pond Dam, it doesn't take long for bad to go to worse. In 2005 Taunton's Whittenton Pond Dam was national news. Taunton evacuated over 2000 people and feared a dam collapse would flood downtown. Again the state was forced to step in to take action. In the end a new rock dam was built to replace the failing wooden one. In 2005 Whittenton Pond Dam was national news, but just 2 years before it was rated as fair. Cook Pond was rated as poor THREE years ago. What condition is it now and what plans are in place to provide needed repairs?
Lefty's View: Three years ago the Cook Pond Dam was found to be in poor condition. This is a 'high-hazard' dam and failure can mean the loss of life and severe property damage. The city of Fall River has an obligation to make sure that a responsible course of action is being followed and needed repairs are taking place.