GARDINER — Repairs completed last fall on the Cobbossee Stream dam owned by Gardiner, Litchfield and Richmond were inspected on Monday and found to be intact, as the committee that oversees the dam prepares to replenish its fund for maintaining the structure.

The repairs done to New Mills Dam last year included replacing three wooden posts damaged by ice and installing three new underwater steel gates at a cost of about $70,000, according to Jack Daniel, chairman of the dam committee. The water impounded by the dam had to be lowered by two to three feet for the repairs completed in October.

A dive team from Commercial Divers Inc., of Bangor, spent much of the day Monday below the surface near the dam, inspecting the impoundment on Cobbossee Stream. The inspection found the dam to be sound and that it hasn’t shifted, Daniel said. The state will issue a detailed report of the inspection later, he said.

The inspection Monday was also done with the help of representatives for the Maine Emergency Management Agency and Kleinschmidt, an engineering consulting company based in Pittsfield.

The three-community committee overseeing the 1800s-era dam has drained most of the $100,000 it received from the communities between 2000 and 2010.

For next year’s budget, the committee has requested $14,000 in total from the three communities to build up its fund again. The committee increased its request from the $10,000 it last collected in 2010 to $14,000, requesting a little more than $5,000 from both Litchfield and Richmond and around $3,000 from Gardiner, Daniel said.


All three communities have either approved the funding or plan to approve it, he said.

While the dam committee oversees the structure for the municipalities, the company that operates a lower dam on the stream, the former American Tissue dam, does the basic maintenance work. The Montreal-based Kruger Inc. operates 15 hydropower dams in Maine, including the American Tissue dam, that generate a total of 11.4 megawatts, according to its website. The New Mills Dam is no longer used to generate electricity.

The more than 150-year-old dam, which the communities have owned since 2000, impounds Cobbossee Stream and largely maintains water levels upstream in Pleasant Pond and Horseshoe Pond. Although West Gardiner also borders part of the waters, residents in the town voted in 1999 to reject joining the other three communities in owning the dam.

On top of adding property value to the community’s tax rolls, the ponds and stream create recreational opportunities and support wildlife, Daniel said.

“It’s a wonderful resource, and I think that’s pretty cool,” he said. “The communities recognize that, and they’re taking care of it.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

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