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Dam will be fixed as ladder is put up

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Jorge Jiminez, the president of ZEL engineering, said a hole in the dam that was present when repairs were made in 2005 has not changed since then but that it will be repaired.

The city is waiting for a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a fish ladder that will allow shad -- and possibly short-nosed sturgeon -- to go upriver.

That permit could be issued in the next few months, he said.

Engineers reinspected the dam a week ago at the request of Commissioner Joe Bowles, who was concerned about former Commissioner Andy Cheek's assertions that the dam was in such bad shape it could fail.

Jiminez said the repairs made in 2005 have held.

"So, we felt comfortable in telling your director that we stand by the recommendation that you wait until you build the fish ladder, and at that point you can really take care of the whole thing," he said.

Cheek spoke to commissioners about his concerns over the dam's condition during the public comment section of a commission meeting a couple of months ago, warning them that if the dam failed it would cost millions of dollars to repair.

Augusta's assistant utilities director, Drew Goins, said that the dam and canal bank are inspected every year but that because of Cheek's comments it had been reinspected.

Jiminez assured commissioners that even if the diversion dam failed, causing the Augusta Canal to go dry, the pumping station on the river could pump 44 million gallons of water a day thanks to recent turbine upgrades.

The dam was built in 1875, and a fish ladder on the South Carolina side of the river, designed by the Chief of Fisheries of the U.S. was built in 1886, but it never passed any fish, Jiminez said.

In other action

- Commissioners voted 7-3 to authorize a Special Neighborhood Task Force for a 90-day trial run using one officer each from the sheriff's office, the marshal's department and code enforcement. Commissioner Joe Bowles, chairman of the subcommittee who worked on the task force idea, made a motion to have City Administrator Fred Russel confer further with Sheriff Ronnie Strength, Marshal Steve Smith and License and Inspection Director Rob Sherman and the information technology department to identify the areas to be targeted. Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason made a substitute motion for the 90-day trial. Mason's challenger for the District 4 commission seat, Sammie Sias, spoke in favor of the task force. Sias is also the former president of the Augusta Neighborhood Alliance, whose members showed up in force in support of the task force.

Voting against the task force were Commissioners Don Grantham, Matt Aitken and Jimmy Smith.

- Dr. Ricardo Azziz, the president of the Medical College of Georgia, spoke to commissioners about his vision for MCG and said he possibly would call on them in the future for street improvements to improve safety for the school's students.

- Without discussion, commissioners approved allowing five golf statues to remain at the Augusta Museum of History and one to be placed at the Augusta Regional Airport.

- Without discussion, commissioners approved allowing additional time, until Sept. 12, for the collection of the fees associated with the probation, suspension and revocation of the business licenses for Willie Brewer, d/b/a Sand Hill Grill, 2457 Wheeler Road; Joseph Cristie, d/b/a Munchies, 1149 Broad St.; and Satish Kalra, d/b/a/ Bombay Central Indian Cuisine, 3112 Washington Road, for failure to pay the Richmond County Health Department fee for services.

Comments (15) Add comment
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airbud7
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airbud7 09/08/10 - 06:17 am
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What dam? the locks? (last

What dam? the locks? (last paragraph mentioned Augusta Canal) must be the locks on evans to locks road

Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/08/10 - 07:10 am
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I hope Mr. Jiminez is right

I hope Mr. Jiminez is right about the diversion dam. But it worries me that he said we could simply draw water from the river with the new pumps. That's implying it's no big deal if the canal disappears.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 09/08/10 - 07:46 am
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I would think that if no fish

I would think that if no fish have "passed" the diversion dam since 1875 that there is no need to put in a fish ladder now.

Riverman1
82090
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Riverman1 09/08/10 - 08:46 am
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Does anyone else find it

Does anyone else find it funny to think of Dr. Azziz standing before the motley bunch of commissioners and Deke at the commission meeting?

Riverman1
82090
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Riverman1 09/08/10 - 08:51 am
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LL, those fish have been

LL, those fish have been bumping their little heads on the dam for all those years trying to get up it, I bet.

gutdawg
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gutdawg 09/08/10 - 09:10 am
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Dr. Azizz needs to call on

Dr. Azizz needs to call on the city to make repairs now. The city of Augusta's streets in general are pitiful. In fact, right in the middle of the MCG campus on Laney Walker is a big hole in the pavement. Instead of fixing it like they should, the city puts a big piece of steel over it for at least 6 months. What ever happened to prison work crew labor?

Little Lamb
45226
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Little Lamb 09/08/10 - 09:27 am
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I saw Azziz on TV news last

I saw Azziz on TV news last night, and what he wants the city to do is CLOSE Laney Walker where it runs through the campus, so there will be pedestrian traffic only. That works for me, how about you, GutDawg?

Little Lamb
45226
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Little Lamb 09/08/10 - 09:30 am
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Oh boy, we're already seeing

Oh boy, we're already seeing what happens when you do code enforcement by committee. Sylvia Cooper wrote:

Commissioner Joe Bowles, chairman of the subcommittee who worked on the task force idea, made a motion to have City Administrator Fred (What, me worry?) Russell confer further with Sheriff Ronnie Strength, Marshal Steve Smith and License and Inspection Director Rob Sherman and the information technology department to identify the areas to be targeted.

What wisdom can What Me Worry Russell possibly bring to the table that those other four can't handle on their own?

gutdawg
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gutdawg 09/08/10 - 11:03 am
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Little Lamb, that would work

Little Lamb, that would work for me too. I have seen many people almost hit in those cross walks in that area. Sounds like a plan to me.

Riverman1
82090
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Riverman1 09/08/10 - 12:10 pm
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I doubt Laney Walker will

I doubt Laney Walker will ever be closed unless another hundred million dollar bribe is laid out.

KingJames
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KingJames 09/08/10 - 01:11 pm
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Airbud7, I was wondering the

Airbud7, I was wondering the same thing. Which dam is Sylvia talking about?

duanejr
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duanejr 09/08/10 - 01:25 pm
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i am confused. The fish

i am confused. The fish ladder they have been discussing is at the New Savannah Bluff lock and damn, becouse the fish cannot pass it at this time unless the locks are open.. Andy Cheek was complaining about the old headgates and locks in Evans. How do you fix one while working on the other?

SCRebel
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SCRebel 09/08/10 - 10:54 pm
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Duane you aren't the only

Duane you aren't the only one, there are others I see with you. There are two issues working here. Privatizing the New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam and the Augusta Diversion Dam (Headgates in Evans as ya'll keep calling it). A natrual fishway (manmade channel around the dam) was proposed as part of turning over the NSBLD from USACOE control (requested by the USFWS and NMFS) to the consortium of NA and Augusta etal and a fish ladder (manmade concrete structure that resembles a serpentine escalator) was part of a mitigation proposal made by the City of Augusta in order to obtain the "permit" from the FERC for the ADD and is what Jiminez is refering to. The NSBLD does not require this "permit" because it is a Federal facility nor does it have hydropower ties like the Canal does.

They are two entirely different entitites and processes.

Little Lamb
45226
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Little Lamb 09/09/10 - 08:22 am
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That's easy for you to say,

That's easy for you to say, SCRebel. Still, Sylvia Cooper's writing is a bit hazy, but it seems she is talking about adding a fish ladder to the diversion dam at the canal headgates. If she were writing about the "lock and dam" downstream of the city, then shame on her for unclear writing.

duanejr
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duanejr 09/09/10 - 08:57 am
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I understand the whole

I understand the whole concept of the fish ladder and the process of installing it SCRebel. The article talks about making repairs to the Diversion dam (as you called it) when they install the fish ladder. The fish ladder is getting installed at the NSBLD. They are two completely different dams in two different locations. So there is some information missing from this article, which seems to be the case with alot of the chronicles articles lately.

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