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Crews remove historic Vermont dam that threatened to fail

October 12, 2021 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A dam built at the end of the 18th century has been fully removed after it was abandoned and contributed to flooding that threatened nearby homes in central Vermont.

The removal of the Dunklee Pond dam started in 2019 and was completed in the past month, WCAX-TV reported.

In the decades after it was built, the dam powered industries like a linseed oil mill, a wood planing mill, metal mill, slate pencil mill and tannery, the broadcaster reported.

More recently, it was used as a skating rink and swimming hole.

“In the ’50s, ’60s, there were photos of the people diving, jumping off the dam, off the wall up here, swimming, fishing,” said Todd Menees of the Vermont Rivers Program.

But the dam deteriorated and Rutland City Fire Chief Bill Lovett said if it failed, it would have threatened dozens of homes downstream and a bridge over a busy roadway could have been destroyed.

The Vermont Natural Resources Council and the city of Rutland coordinated the project, using around $500,000 of state and federal funding. The project removed sediment that accumulated behind the dam, which the city of Rutland will use for road repairs.