Letter: The dam numbers need to be revisited

August 17, 2023

As part of the Warner’s Pond Alternative Analysis Report by EA Engineering (EA), EA advanced a dredging option whereby we dredge 14,000 cubic yards (CY) instead of 35,800 CY as originally planned.

The report proposed that sediment could be piled onto the pond’s western shore, realizing significant savings by avoiding transporting dredged materials offsite. 

The cost for this option, as identified by Table 4.3 of the report, was $3,140,000. EA was quick to note that these are conceptual costs only, based on discussions with local environmental firms. 

But why rely on contractor discussions and “conceptual” cost estimates when the town has specifications for dredging Warner’s Pond — and a contractor has priced out those specifications?

Why not take the $9 million bid put forth by Charter Construction and delete the five line items related to treating and transporting sediment off site, saving $5,699,600?

That would reduce dredging costs for the entire project to $3,289,600, close to the amount approved by the town.

EA’s plan to reduce cubic yards from 35,800 down to 14,000 reduces the cost to $1,315,814.

The need to generate alternatives to dredging Warner’s Pond, and the recommendation to demolish our dam, was predicated on an $9 million price tag. Omitting offsite storage of sediment places the project back within approved funding limits. 

We need to call the town manager and ask her to revisit the dredging project, omitting specifications related to transporting sediment offsite, and consider two options — one for 35,800 CY and the other for 14,000 CY. 

And we need to ask her to slow down the dam demolition. After all, it only came about due to the high cost of the dredging project. 

Miguel Echavarri

Commonwealth Avenue