Down with Struthers dam, up with Mahoning River revival

Submitted photo.. Work on extracting the dam from the Mahoning River in Struthers will begin in May, starting with dredging. The dam consists of five concrete piers that are between 6 and 7 feet tall. Pictured is debris resting against the dam.

Posted on April 6, 2021

STRUTHERS — Dam removal work on the Mahoning River in Mahoning County is resuming for 2021.

In a regional effort to revitalize the waterway between Mahoning and Trumbull counties, Struthers is the next community to have its dam removed.

Mayor Catherine Cercone Miller said the work will kick off in May and wrap up in May 2022.

Last year, the village of Lowellville saw dredging and dam removal.

Struthers is sponsoring the dredging and dam removal near South Bridge Street. It once served the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.’s Campbell Works and the company’s Struthers coke plant. The dam pooled water in the river that was used for cooling the furnaces.

The project is supported by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and has a pricetag of about $4 million.

Funding the project are various agencies: the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Water Pollution Control Loan Fund for $190,619; Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program for $1.2 million; LTV Steel Bankruptcy Fund established by the Ohio EPA and administered by Eastgate at $1.8 million; and Ohio Public Works Commission Clean Ohio Conservation Fund for $831,900.

Once dredging between 8,000 and 10,000 cubic yards of the river is completed, portions of the five-pier concrete dam will be extracted.

The 240-foot dam once supported a train trestle and stands between 6 to 7 feet tall.

Mostly upstream of the dam site, about 3,000 feet of

river channel will be restored, Miller said. Once water is free-flowing, recreation in and along the river will begin.

Struthers selected RiverReach Construction of Barberton as general contractor. Supporting engineers of the project are GPD Group of Youngstown, EnviroScience of Stow, and Brownfield Restoration Group of Fairlawn.

Once the design team receives the water quality certification permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the team will begin work.

Permits from the Army Corps of Engineers have been obtained, and trees along the banks of the river have been cleared to allow for crews to begin dredging followed by the dam extraction, Miller said.

Since the Lowellville dam that serviced the former Sharon Steel mill came out last year, Mayor Jim Iudiciani said more people have visited the space.

“The weather’s breaking, and we’re seeing more activity,” he said, adding that as COVID-19 lessens its grip, village officials expect to see even more people this year.

The entire project is “about 95 percent” complete, he said, with restoration of soil and a parking lot being completed, along with signage.

afox@vindy.com

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