Waterbury Dam Spillway Project

Updated: 07/07/2022

Field Exploration Work (Summer 2022):

As part of the Dam Safety Modification Study (DSMS) phase of the project, the US Army Corps of Engineers and their subcontractors, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Dam Safety Program, will be performing material sampling and testing at the spillway this late summer and fall. This work will support the study, analysis, and design of the repairs/rehabilitation, which is due for construction in the 2024 to 2027 timeframe.

Schedule: An approximately 6-week work schedule is planned, starting in the late August to early September timeframe. Work will be performed Monday through Friday with noise generating activities limited to 8 AM to 6 PM. Noise generating activities will largely be limited to concrete/bedrock coring and steel grinding, cutting, and or drilling. Weekend work requires prior State approval and Holiday work will not be permitted. Check back for schedule updates which we will provide as they become available.

Anticipated Impacts: The work area will largely be limited to the gated and ungated sections of the spillway, outside of publicly accessible areas. The work will not impact normal water levels nor flood operations at the dam. Limited to no impacts are anticipated to recreational opportunities on or around Waterbury Reservoir. During certain portions of the work, areas of Waterbury Dam or the public boat ramp located immediately adjacent to the dam may be temporarily inaccessible for public safety reasons. Noise generating activities are limited to 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday.

Contact: Please contact State Dam Safety Engineer – Ben Green at 802-622-4093 or Benjamin.green@vermont.gov with any questions or concerns.

Project Purpose & Benefits:

This project is aimed at addressing the degraded concrete and structurally deficient radial arm flood gates (Tainter gates) at the spillway at the eastern end of Waterbury Dam. The Vermont DEC Dam Safety Program is working with the New England District (NED) of the United States Army Corps of Engineers on the evaluation and design of this project. The project is funded with Federal and State dollars.   

Benefits of the project include:

  • Allow full flood control capability of the dam to be realized while reducing risks of flooding in downstream communities.
  • Improve water quality in Waterbury Reservoir and the Little River by eliminating the need for seasonal drawdowns in water level.
  • Improved Operation and Maintenance of the dam.
  • Improved public safety.
  • Continued support for existing hydropower and recreational uses of Waterbury Reservoir.


Waterbury Dam Diagram
Diagram of Waterbury Dam


Project Timeline:

Risk Assessment – Currently under State Review 

Section 542 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) – Lake Champlain Basin Program, $700k

  • Holistic evaluation of complete dam including site visits, reviewing existing plans, records, and data.
  • Identification of Potential Failure Modes (PFMs) of the dam and downstream consequences of dam failure.
  • Inform future project study and design to reduce dam safety risks.


Dam Safety Modification Study (Underway-2023)

Section 1177 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN), $3M

  • Additional study necessary to better evaluate the risk driving PFMs identified in the Risk Assessment.

  • Quantitative risk assessment of key risk driving PFMs.

  • Field data collection including structural inspections of the Tainter Gates, geologic exploration and mapping of spillway bedrock, collection of representative bedrock and concrete samples from the spillway, laboratory testing, and updated analyses.

  • Identification of rehabilitation alternatives.


Design (2022-2023)

Section 1177 WIIN, ~$5M


Construction (2024-2027)

Section 1177 WIIN, ~$37M


Additional Resources:

Waterbury Dam Fact Sheet

Waterbury Dam Spillway Refurbishment Project Public Information Meeting