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Environment & Energy

Brecksville Dam Removal Underway in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

photo of Brecksville Dam
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU
The Brecksville Dam, just below Route 82, in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an 8 foot concrete structure built in the early 1950s. It hides a second, wooden dam from the 1820s. CVNP officials say the dam is an impediment to water quality.

It was the beginning of the end of the Brecksville Dam today. Crews started the process of deconstructing the dam. That began with notching a hole for sediment to flow through the concrete structure.

Elaine Marsh with Friends of the Crooked River watched as a hydraulic hammer attached to a crane began making a hole in the nearly 70-year-old concrete structure in the Cuyahoga River.

“We are about to hear the crack heard ‘round the watershed – years in the making – to deconstruct this dam," Marsh said. “Dams are a very big impairment to water quality. And we think the water quality in this section of the river is going to be exceptional. In addition, this dam is an impediment to safe paddling.”

The Brecksville Dam actually hides a wooden dam from the 1820s. Cuyahoga Valley National Park spokeswoman Pamela Barnes says they plan to study the wooden dam once it’s visible in the next week, as sediment drains and the water level falls. 

“We don’t really know what’s going to happen. It could just -- ‘poof’ – disappear once it’s exposed to oxygen since it’s been underwater; we don’t know. And we also really don’t know what’s going to happen with the dam pool once the water goes down – what it’s all going to look like.”

The $2.1 million project is slated for completion by the end of summer.