New England News Releases

Town of Temple seeks permit for proposed work in Henry Mitchell Brook off Mitchell Brook Road in Maine
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District received a permit application to conduct work in waters of the United States from the Town of Temple for proposed work in Henry Mitchell Brook...
USACE seeks comments on proposed work in wetlands and waterways off Route 78 in Swanton, Vermont
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District received a permit application to conduct work in waters of the United States from Vermont Agency of Transportation in Barre, Vermont, for...
USACE seeks comments on proposed work in freshwater wetlands, tributaries in Rumford, Maine
 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District received a permit application to conduct work in waters of the United States from Twin Energy LLC in Cohasset, Massachusetts, for proposed work...

Top Rotator

Local bird watchers descended upon West Hill Dam armed with pen, paper and a few binoculars to participate in West Hill Dam’s annual Backyard Bird Count.
Construction of the System Management Engineering Facility (SMEF), the 40,000 square foot, 2-story addition, is well underway and progressing rapidly.
For vessels wanting to enter Plymouth waters, dredging to remove shoals from the Plymouth Harbor federal navigation project in Massachusetts is currently underway and on schedule.

News From Around the Corps

USACE, Newport News Set Date to Begin Deep Creek Navigation Channel Dredging
In partnership with the City of Newport News, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District has set a date to begin dredging the Deep Creek Navigation Channel...
District Provides CENTCOM Commercial Real Estate Support Across the Middle East
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With over 70 years of history in the Middle East, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) is not only able to offer their mission partners the engineering and...
A Christmas Story – kind of…
MAUI, Hawaii – When a fire burns hot enough to melt engine blocks and granite countertops, it is at least 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything it touches at that point is compromised. So, when it’s...

Feature Stories

New England District Team inspects Woonsocket Dam

USACE, New England District
Published Nov. 8, 2017
Woonsocket Falls Dam inspection

A special team from the New England District inspects the Woonsocket Falls Dam in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Sept. 5, 2017.

Consistent maintenance of the New England District’s flood damage reduction projects are critical to keeping them operating smoothly.  A special team of New England District employees from Engineering, Safety and Operations performed a detailed Hydraulic Steel Structures (HSS) inspection of the four tainter gates at the Woonsocket Falls Dam in Rhode Island.  “The primary purpose of HSS inspections is to evaluate the structural adequacy of these flood control features on a regular basis,” said Jason Paolino, Chief, Structural Engineering Section.  “This includes hands-on assessment of critical structural members and connections prone to failure in tension.”

According to Joe Zanca, Project Manager, the tainter gate system allows the dam to keep the river elevation above the dam at a constant level at any river flow.  “By adjusting the four gates up and down, the river flow can pass over and under the gates,” he said.

Paolino said the HSS inspection is physically demanding while working at heights, requiring climbing access to all parts of those large structures.  “Coordinating set-up access and fall protection measure are critical,” he said.

Inspecting a project of this size is a long and detailed process.  “Park Rangers Mark Larson and Drew McInerny gathered and brought all the fall protection equipment and prepared the area by placing ladders of all kinds onto areas for the inspection team to access,” said Zanca.

Zanca manipulated the gates to keep the inspectors dry by opening and closing them, allowing water to pass around the inspection work area. According to Zanca, lowering the pool during low flows is a long process as they lower the elevation of the river to allow full control of the water flow, allowing the inspection.  “Each year, during low flow periods when stakeholders are not using the flows, we lower the river, approximately 10 feet, for about 30 days, to perform inspections of the dam and channel,” he said.

 Jim Hachigan, Basin ECO, and Basin Manager Adam Durando provided assistance and general safety and logistical oversight.  Structural engineers John Kedzierski and Adam Stewart did the actual climbing inspection, with support from George Claflin, periodic inspection coordinator, and Kane Turmelle, Safety Office. Paolino was impressed with the skillful work of Kedzierski and Stewart, and pleased with the inspection process.  “This effort went smoothly, efficiently and safely due to the close coordination of the entire team,” he said.  “It will serve as a model for future inspections.”

“During the post inspection meeting, Operations was notified the gates are structurally sound,” said Zanca.  “We will continue with normal operations.”

Zanca said the Woonsocket Dam is a “water use” dam, constructed in 1959 and operated to keep a small elevation pool above the dam for water use.  Used in the 1950’s for rubber and textile mills, the dam is used solely for hydropower. The New England District took over operation and maintenance of the Woonsocket Flood Damage Reduction project in January 2009.  The project was transferred from the city of Woonsocket to the District.  Woonsocket is managed by the West Hill Dam Project Office Staff.          

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