ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) - New York's Department of Environmental Conservation overstepped its authority by declaring "legal strangers" to be co-owners of an upstate dam and making them jointly liable for its repair and upkeep, a couple claims in court.
Robert and Karen Berger asked a state judge to throw out the DEC decision that named them co-owners, with David and Jody Cook, of the Honk Falls Dam in Napanoch, about 45 minutes west of Poughkeepsie, in Ulster County.
Visual inspection revealed several deficiencies in the structure.
The following items were noted:
- The right wing wall has seepage at the soil-concrete contact along most of its length;
- The wooden gates on the 6-foot diameter outlet pipes have water running down their face; The mechanical equipment for the lift gates is inoperative;
- The lift arm for the left gate on the 6-foot diameter outlet pipe is missing; The left wingwall has seepage at the junction with the main structure of the dam;
- There is seepage through the dam on the downstream face below the auxiliary spillways;
- The junction of the concrete and rock at the toe of the dam is eroded;
- The construction joints in the dam are badly eroded; and The entire concrete surface of the dam is spalled and deteriorated.
In 1924, it was conveyed by its builder to United Hudson Electric Corp., which later became part of Central Hudson Gas & Electric. The utility sold it in 1949 to a paper mill, which was barred from using the dam to generate power and had to adhere to the extensive rights to water in Rondout Creek that New York City obtained via eminent domain in 1948.
(Ulster County is part of the New York City watershed, an area of some 1,900 square miles in the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley that supplies about 90 percent of the water consumed in metropolitan New York.)
Honk Falls Dam subsequently changed hands several times until it was acquired in 1976 by Recycled National Paper. That company lost the dam to tax foreclosure by Ulster County in 1979.
Source: Courthouse News
In 2007, the DEC cited the Bergers and the Cooks for violations of the tougher conservation law that made dam owners responsible for maintenance. The couples were charged with failing to maintain the dam's safety since their 1994 and 1999 purchases of property on either side of it.
The couples answered that they owned the land that abutted the dam - and the Cooks claimed to own the bed of Honk Lake - but they denied owning the dam or any part of it.In 2007, the DEC cited the Bergers and the Cooks for violations of the tougher conservation law that made dam owners responsible for maintenance. The couples were charged with failing to maintain the dam's safety since their 1994 and 1999 purchases of property on either side of it.
The couples answered that they owned the land that abutted the dam - and the Cooks claimed to own the bed of Honk Lake - but they denied owning the dam or any part of it.
- - - - - - -Now here is where it gets interesting and anyone who may buy land someday needs to pay attention!
Originally posted by tinner07
Well it they own the Dam thing can't they legally tear it down? Surely its not that simple but thats what I would say.
If people downstream of the Dam thing don't like the idea maybe they could pony up some cash to fix it... or the people living on the lake it has created. Lakefront property in the catskill mtns. cant be too cheap, they have money.
But also if you own the Dam you own the river? you own the river do you own the water in it? Do you own the fish in said river? What if the river floods homes downstream? are you liable to those home owners?