FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2018
Over the next few weeks, Quinte Conservation staff will be operating the valves on Belleville ice control dams as a part of annual dam inspections and in accordance with the dam operations manual.
Water Resources Manager Christine McClure says, “We will be operating the valves to ensure that they are in working order. This also gives staff the opportunity to inspect the concrete weirs.”
Residents may notice a decrease in water levels above each structure on the Moira River in Belleville.
Ice Control Dams are run-of-the river dams. Their purpose is to help create a stable ice sheet over the flowing water below. The dams do not impede the natural flow of the river and they are not operated to control the flow of water. They are referred to as run-of-the-river dams because the amount of flow that approaches them is the same flow that overtops the dam and travels downstream.
The Belleville ice control dams play a critical role in protecting downtown Belleville from flooding caused by ice jams.
A Brief History on the Belleville Ice Control Structures The Belleville Ice Control Dams were built during the period from 1978 to 1990 to combat the persistent ice jamming problems that often caused flooding in the downtown core of the city. Six dams were constructed in total.
The dams flood back the rapids in the Moira River creating a stable ice sheet during the winter months. The ice sheet prevents the formation of frazil ice in these reaches of the river by insulating the river against the super cooling effect of low temperatures and wind.
Ice booms have been placed upstream of the dams to hold back spring ice floes thereby reducing the amount of chunk ice in the lower reaches of the river. Chunk ice jamming has been a common cause of ice related flooding.