Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA

Last month I was fortunate to glimpse the impressive Haskell’s Pond Dam reconstruction orchestrated by Gloucester’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Protecting and managing water utilities can be easy to take for granted. “This not so sleepy dam by Rt. 128 continues to deliver almost 30% of the city’s water,” exclaimed Larry Durkin, City Environmental Engineer. He explained that years ago the DPW team began assessing the city’s water infrastructure and compliance requirements including what would happen during an event storm. Haskell’s Pond Dam needed attention: The reconstruction was projected to cost 2 million (based on the preliminary plans and the recent Babson Reservoir repair). Phase I and II  were contracted out to SumCo Eco Contracting and the estimates were correct. The project cost two million and the work is largely completed thanks to grants and loans from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and the Commonwealth’s Dam and Seawall Program.  DPW Director, Mike Hale, and Larry Durkin concur: “They are fabulous to work with.” Discovery was anticipated. While drilling it was determined that the Haskell Pond Dam was indeed not structurally stable, and a MAJOR fix would be required to bring the dam into compliance. The DPW team is working with the state to fund the critical work of Phase 3.

Until then, take time to enjoy its history. While checking out the 2018  progress, I pulled stories and stats from the Haskell’s Pond Dam original build In 1902. As with today, the dam work was regarded  a model project. State assistance and contracted elements were required then, too. The numerous links among these two century projects are a fascinating delve and described below. The evolving breaking news in 1902 kicked off with a bang, surprising lawsuits (next stop for one could be Supreme Court), and deft leadership. Readers and history buffs will recognize names. (Tarr ancestors were involved; were yours?)

panorama and contemporary photos – Like a mini Walden pond- Haskell’s Pond during Dam reconstruction Gloucester, MA ©c ryan July 7, 2018.  

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (1)

FAST STATS 2018 Phase 1 & 2 – $1,928,000

Scope for Phase 1 & 2: Construction of a new concrete spillway chute, concrete repairs, clearing of trees and unwanted vegetation and valve replacement at an earthen embankment dam within the City’s active water supply system, and more (A prior $175,000 grant from the state’s Dam and Seawall Program was awarded to support “engineering, permitting and the development of construction documents”  which established scope for Phase 1)

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (7)

Contractor: SumCo Eco Contracting,
Status: largely completed
Mayor: Mayor Romeo Theken
DPW Director: Mike Hale
City Environmental Engineer: Lawrence A. Durkin, P.E.
Project start (historic): 1902
Modern project start: 2013-18; RFP for Phase I issued: March 15, 2017
Total project cost: estimated to be $7 million
Funding Awarded to date: $1,925,000 

  • from State: $1,925,000 – The City has done very well with Grants and Loans from the MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and its Dam and Seawall Program, Mike Hale and Larry Durkin concur. “They are fabulous to work with.”
No EEA Grant Loan Comment
1 Design  & permitting grant FY 2016 $175,000 Completed 6/30/16
2 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Grant FY 2017 $500,000 Closed 6/30/17 and City reimbursed
3 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Loan FY 2018 $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
4 Haskell Phase 2 Construction Grant FY 2018 (Applied to Phase 1 change orders) $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
5 Additional FY 2018 EEA, funds applied to Phase 1 change orders $250,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
6 Haskell Phase 2 Full FY 2019 Grant, to be applied to Phase 3 $500,000 to be realized if Phase 3 goes forward in FY 2019
7 EEA Total to date $1,925,000 $500,000

Phase 3:  Some future phase was anticipated, though obviously impossible to nail down until Phase 1 & 2 were completed. The reconstruction was based on discovery put into works five or more years ago as Durkin and DPW team assessed city’s watersheds. The dam has been deemed unstable and will require a major fix to be compliant. According to Durkin, the scope for Phase 3 will include “a secant concrete wall to be drilled and concrete along the dam crest for its entire length, cored in the bedrock beneath dam for structural stability and a concrete parapet wall tied into the secant wall that provides the necessary containment for the maximum storm as defined by the state” and some exicting ancillary projects I’ll write more about in a future update. Phase 3 is estimated to cost 5 million and DPW is working on grants with the state to ensure that it happens.

Location(s): West Gloucester
Priority:  Mayor Romeo Theken’s Office-City consider water highest priority – this one continues to provide 1/3 of the city’s water

Before / After

before photos courtesy DPW ca.2014  /  after photos ©c ryan 2018

 

 

ORIGINAL 1902 PLANS AND PROPOSAL

Plate 14 West Gloucester showing Haskell's Pond_from Gloucester MA Dept Public Works archives

Reviewing the ordeal that was constructing the dam– one hundred and six years ago –is a fascinating read, and helped me appreciate the major job it’s been in 2018. The original dam construction was contentious and hence the top news story of 1902 and years prior. While researching its beginnings, I was struck by just how many areas of concern and themes of city governance from 1902 remain relevant in 2018. Here’s a short list: the financial condition of the city (“revaluation”), suitable allocations, considering work on Rogers Street, water costs, heroic solo sails, possible steel bridge over Annisquam, Burnham Field play ground, pros and cons of tourism, disagreement over what is considered sound development, new theater on Main Street, announcing state grants, eminent domain, boundary lines, Gloucester Fresh, cut bridge in bad condition, aiming to keep work in town when possible, Stage Fort Park tributes, environmentally friendly innovations,  sustainability, access and oodles of local politics-  Office of Mayor and City Council, city staff, committees, and commissions.

The excerpts below pertain to Haskell’s pond dam from 1902 Gloucester Daily Times  archives that I pulled from reels at Sawyer Free and transcribed for easy access.  Plans and maps are courtesy of Mike Hale and the Department Public Work team. Links to high resolution versions are provided at the end of the post.

January 4, 1902 – MAYOR FRENCH LOSES: Aldermen Vote to Exonerate Water Commissioners

Continue reading “Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA”

CAPE ANN’S WINGED CREATURE UPDATE

As you’ll hear in Sunday night’s podcast (our 191st!!), the Piping Plover’s nesting continues. The Plovers are defending their territory against predators, using the “injured wing” trick. Learn more about this defensive behavior in the podcast.

In this batch of photos you can see how to tell the difference between the male and female.

Female Piping Plover copyright Kim SmithThe female’s neck collar, or band, is broken in the front and is paler in color.
Male Piping Plover copyright Kim Smith

The male’s neck collar is darker and goes nearly all the way around. Note too the black bar across his forehead.

Male and Female Piping Plover copyright Kim SmithGenerally speaking, the male is a bit larger and the bill a bit brighter orange (male left, female right). After the breeding season, the plumage of both male and female will become paler.

Mr. Swan is doing well and looking very healthy, but with no signs of a new Mrs. on the horizon. Here he is enjoying a stretch in the sun.Mr. Swan outstretched wings Niles Pond coyright Kim Smith

Our caterpillars of the beautiful Cecropia Moth, given by friend Christine, are in their second instar and growing rapidly on a steady diet of birch leaves. The Cecropia Moth is just one of the many reasons why we would never spray trees with pesticides and herbicides.

A HUGE SHOUT OUT to Gloucester’s drinking water chief engineer Larry Durkin and to Senator Bruce Tarr for working hard to keep glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) out of our water supply. Glyphosate is a known carcinogen and extremely bad news for bees, butterflies, and all pollinators. Durkin is pressing Keolis, the company that operates the MBTA commuter rail track service, to cut its use of glyphosate along the track adjacent to the Babson Reservoir and to manually cut back the growth.  Read the full story here in the Gloucester Times.

Cecropia Moth caterpillars copyright Kim SmithCecropia Moth Caterpillars