Northborough receives funds to remove dam

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By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter

The Northborough Reservoir Dam sits near Reservoir Street and I-290.   (Photo/Dakota Antelman)
The Northborough Reservoir Dam sits near Reservoir Street and I-290.
(Photo/Dakota Antelman)

NORTHBOROUGH — Northborough will receive state funding to help begin the process of removing an aging dam on the Northborough Reservoir. 

The town will receive $168,750 through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Dam and Seawall Program. This will help fund the design and permitting a portion of the dam removal effort.

Northborough has been ordered to either remove or repair the dam after the state identified it as being in poor condition.

The dam holds back the Northborough Reservoir, which is actually located just outside of Northborough, near the Shrewsbury and Boylston town-line. It had helped control Northborough’s water supply by funneling water through an aqueduct. 

The town switched water supplies in the 1950s, though. During a Board of Selectmen meeting last month, Department of Public Works Director Scott Charpentier said the dam no longer serves a useful purpose.

With its evaluation of the structure, the state’s Office of Dam Safety has determined that the dam could threaten downstream properties if it failed. 

A total of $17.3 million was awarded to municipalities across the state for them to address their failing coastal infrastructure, levees and dams, according to a press release from Gov. Charlie Baker’s office. 

Baker said the grants would help the municipalities make “substantial” progress to maintain and repair the structures. 

“The Commonwealth’s cities and towns are seeing the impacts of climate change every day, and our administration is committed to providing needed funding to support critical resilience projects to addresses these issues,” Baker said.

The design and permitting process will take between 18 and 24 months. From there, removal will begin, costing upwards of $1 million, officials said back in June. 

The town is hoping to pull in additional grant funding for that stage of the project.

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