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March 16, 2006

New Hampshire Dams Get a Much Needed Plug

Concord , NH – In the Senate today, New Hampshire dams got a much needed funding boost to ensure they are operating under safest conditions possible. Senate Bill 103 established a fee of ten cents per foot for owners of shore frontage on a lake or pond with a water level regulated by a state owned dam. The revenue collected from this fee will be placed into a Dam Maintenance Fund.

Senate Bill 103 was introduced by Senator Carl Johnson (R –Meredith) to provide help to the 269 state owned dams; there are 26 High Hazard rated dams and 27 Significant Hazard rated dams. There are about 4000 homes downstream from state owned dams, which have an average life without repair of 50 years. Many of the state owned dams were built in the 1800’s and are in dire need of a complete overhaul.

Senate President Ted Gatsas (R– Manchester), a co-sponsor of this legislation remarked, “The state is obligated to take care of our dams. We saw what a wall of water can do, as it devastated communities in the southwestern portion of the state. We can not sit idly by and allow dams to deteriorate, which if they did, would result in catastrophic events. The Dam Maintenance Fund needs this boost in revenue so it can keep New Hampshire dams safe.”

Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen (D– Concord) commented,“This piece of legislation is vital to the safety of our residents andthose who live downstream from state owned dams. There are 26 High Hazard dams which if they gave way, would cause countless dollars of damage as well as the possibility of fatalities. We need to do whatever we can to make sure our dams are secure and receive repair.”

Senator Maggie Hassan (D- Exeter), a co-sponsor concluded, “This bill gives everyone a little piece of security that lives downstream from a dam. Those residents should not have to be worried about the dam giving way and causing damage.”

Senate Bill 103 will be sent to the House for evaluation and further action.