Two old dams on the Farmington River could be brought back to life. U-S Congressman Chris Murphy announced he plans to propose legislation to transfer a federal license to operate the dams to the town of Canton.
Back in the 1800s the first of the two dams was built to power an ax factor in Collinsville. But both dams were shut down in 1965 when the factory closed.
A private company, called Summit, obtained a federal license in 2001 to start up hydroelectric projects at the dams again, but Summit was unable to meet the requirement to begin construction by 2005, making the license invalid.
Representative Chris Murphy says in the past Congress has acted to reinstate an expired license or to transfer a license from one entity to another, but has never done both at the same time. He says transferring the license to Canton would save the town tens of thousands of dollars and be good for the environment
“This is exactly the type of local green energy project that Congress should be supporting and I’m really excited Canton has decided to take on the project.”
It would cost about ten million dollars to get both hydro projects operating, including installing passage for migrating fish.
But some environmentalists would prefer that the lower dam, which is located in the towns of Avon and Farmington, be removed or notched to allow the river to flow more naturally and for fish to swim without obstruction.