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The Cuyahoga River's Most Dangerous Dam Will Soon be Coming Down

A photo of Brecksville Dam
The Brecksville Dam will be removed this fall.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 2, 2019.

One of the last remaining dams on the Cuyahoga River will soon be coming down.

The Brecksville dam was built in 1952 to divert water to operations of what is now Charter Steel in Cleveland.

photo of Elaine Marsh
Elaine Marsh, president of Friends of the Crooked River, is leading the demolition of the Brecksville diversion dam. She said the dam not only blocks migrating fish and hurts the health of the river, it's a hazard to paddlers.

Elaine Marsh, president of the Friends of the Crooked River, announced this week that Kokosing Industrial has been hired to remove the dam.

She said the dam not only prevents fish from traveling up river, it’s a severe hazard for kayakers.

“Once this dam comes down," said Marsh, "there will be vast benefits to the people who use and enjoy the river, and it will be much safer for paddlers.”

The Brecksville diversion dam has a sinister reputation among kayakers who fear the hydraulic wave formed by the overflow. 

Marsh said design work will begin this month, with demolition slated for this fall.

The $1.3 million project is being funded by the U.S. EPA and the City of Akron as part of its federal order to clean-up the Cuyahoga River.

The dam has diverted water to the Ohio and Erie Canal. The final design for removing the dam will include a below-water pumping system that will supply water to the canal in the future.

Jeff is your average chemist turned radio host and reporter. He currently hosts middays on WKSU and has reported extensively on science, politics, business, and the environment.