High-hazard dam needs fix

BY JOSH MROZINSKI
Commissioners noted that they received a letter from Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Deputy Director Brian Barner that stated that it will cost $1.8 million to replace and widen the structure’s concrete spillway.

“We now have a unique opportunity to repair Stevens Lake and we would like to enlist your assistance and leadership in getting this accomplished,” Barner said.

He added that the fish and boat commission will work jointly with state and local officials to prioritize repairs, which depends “heavily on local participation and the commitment of local funds.”

Potential failure and immediacy of needed repairs will be other factors considered by the fish and boat commission.

Commissioner Tony Litwin said that the county could not afford to provide financial assistance.

The Stevens Lake dam, which is located in Lemon Township, is one of 16 state-owned dams that were classified as high-hazards last year.

Gov. Ed Rendell has set aside $37 million in the 2008-09 budget to repair or remove the 16 dams.

According to Barner, an additional $78 million will be needed to complete all repairs and removals.

High-hazard dams have the potential to cause significant damage to property or loss of life in the event of a failure, Barner noted.

About 21 people would be in harm’s way if the dam at Stevens Lake fails. The lake, formerly known as Mud Pond, is a 62-acre impoundment.

The dam is nine feet high and 99 feet long and located off Route 29.

In the letter, Barner said that the fish and boat commission hopes to hold a meeting about the dam with municipal, county and state officials between May 19 and June 20.

“To ensure that all funding opportunities and local support options are fully explored, we plan to hold a meeting with interested local officials designed to ascertain levels of interest and financial support,” Barner said.

County clerk Bill Gaylord said that the county has not responded to Barner’s letter.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners noted that free cards that give an average discount of 20 percent on prescriptions not covered by insurance can be found at area pharmacies, the county courthouse, Tunkhannock Public Library and Tyler Memorial Hospital, among other places, starting on Thursday.

In another matter, Litwin noted that the Wyoming County Correctional Facility has scored 100 percent on a recent state inspection.

“We certainly appreciate all that you do,” Litwin said, speaking to jail employees who were recognized as part of Corrections Employee Week.

May 4-10 was designated as Corrections Employee Week in the county by commissioners.