Springbank Dam Update (May 2016)
The future of Springbank Dam is in question. Springbank Dam Rehabilitation was initiated to ensure the safe operation of Springbank Dam. Studies in 2000 and 2002 recommended that the dam be rehabilitated to meet provincial dam safety requirements. Deficiencies were identified including:
• Erosion protection damaged in the July 9, 2000 Thames River flood,
• Failing stop logs prone to blockage by debris and operational challenges, and
• Concrete deterioration.
An Environmental Assessment was undertaken to look at the alternatives (Environmental Assessment Report Springbank Dam (2003) and Appendices). The rehabilitation completed focused on replacing the failing stop logs with gates, leaving other work to be done in the future. See more background on the dam and rehabilitation project.
• Springbank Dam has remained inoperable since the failure of one of the gate hinges during commissioning in 2008.
• In late 2015, a settlement was reached in the litigation surrounding the project. In reaching the settlement, no parties accepted liability.
• The City of London faces a choice to repair Springbank Dam or decommission it (remove or otherwise repurpose).
• People have expressed varied opinions on what should be done with the dam – some want the dam to be fixed so that seasonal operations can return while others feel it should be decommissioned or otherwise repurposed.
• It is important that decision makers have relevant information.
– Changing environmental conditions in the past decade demonstrate that a free flowing river is the best outcome for the health of the Thames River.
• Vegetation has begun to get established on the banks,
• More natural depths and fluctuations have resulted in new river channel morphology with improved habitat, and
• Year round movement through this part of the river of aquatic species, such as fish and turtles, is less impeded.
– Springbank Dam and related erosion protection would require repairs beyond what would be required to operate the gates.
• It will be important that City Council consider what’s best for London and the environment is one of many factors needing consideration in making a decision.
• All information, options and viewpoints should be given due consideration in making a decision.
The UTRCA has undertaken the following studies, as part of our responsibilities for operation and maintenance of Springbank Dam:
• Springbank Dam South Bank Steel Sheet Pile Inspection (2010)
• Springbank Dam Condition Survey Report (2011)
• Springbank Dam North Embankment Repairs (2011)
• Springbank Dam Work Plan (2011)
• Springbank Reservoir Shoreline Vegetation Succession Study, 2007-2014
• Springbank Reservoir Reptiles at Risk: Executive Summary (with confidentiality note) (2015)