The process of removing the Spoonville dam along the Farmington River has begun. It was once used to generate power, but is now is being dismantled to help restore fish populations.
After months of research and planning, crews in East Granby and Bloomfield have started a major project to demolish Spoonville dam, located at the lower end of Tariffville Gorge, which connects to the Farmington River.
"I have to say that three to four years is an incredibly short time frame for a dam removal, so we’re really pleased,” said Eileen Fielding, the executive director of the Farmington River Watershed Association.
Officials said they are removing the dam because they want to improve safety for people who use the area for recreation because there have been multiple deaths there.
Built in 1899, Spoonville dam served as a hydropower facility, but has not been much use since the 1950s when a hurricane destroyed it.
“Part of it was washed away and after that the hydro-power operation was defunct and was disassembled. And the dam simply stood there as a partial barrier to the river ever since,” Fielding said.
In the long-run, this project will also help restore historic fish migrations from the Atlantic Ocean to the Farmington River.
“We would like to have them coming back up the Farmington. And the breach in the dam has such a high-velocity current coming through it that some of these fish could not get past this point,” Fielding said.
Machines — not explosives, will take the dam apart and the concrete will be recycled. Demolition of the dam, which is owned by Connecticut Light and Power, is expected to last through August.