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Tamaqua council discusses noisy Owl Creek Dam

Published October 05. 2018 10:47AM

The noise created by the overflow of the Upper Owl Creek Dam has some local residents irritated. The issue was discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of Tamaqua Borough Council.

Borough Manager Kevin Steigerwalt said several neighbors who live in the vicinity of the dam have complained about the noise problem, saying it keeps them up at night and rattles the windows in their homes.

Steigerwalt said he has visited the area.

“When you’re on top of it, it is quite loud,” he said, “but the further away you get, the noise decreases.”

He said that when he was in his vehicle in the parking lot near the dam, he could not hear the dam over the engine of his car and that the noise coming from traffic along Owl Creek Road was louder than anything he heard from the dam.

“We’re not required to do anything about it,” he said, but added that the borough had contacted their engineers to see what options might be available. One of the options included lowering the level of the dam, which Councilwoman Mary Linkevich said she was not in favor of, as it would make the boating dock unusable.

Councilman Brian Connely asked if the borough could not just install a large interlock block at the base of the overflow to break up the water. Steigerwalt said that option could cost money and it could require review by DEP for any environmental impact, which might also cost the borough money.

Councilman Richie Linkhorst noted that rainfall has been unusually heavy lately and that may be contributing to the problem. Council discussed doing some noise monitoring in the area.

In other matters related to Owl Creek, Councilman Ron Bowman said he had investigated the conditions of Owl Creek Road following complaints from residents about the terrible conditions along stretches of the road. Bowman said that paving in the area has to be done, “somehow, someway.” Referring to the stretches that are in the worst condition, he said, “we’re losing it. It might even be gone, and it’s not going to get better.”

“To add to the misery, the whole stretch from 309 to the Carbon County line needs to be milled down 3 to 4 inches and paved, or that whole road is going to be in this condition,” he said. Bowman said although he realizes that it’s going to cost, the longer the situation continues, the worse it will get and the more difficult it will be to salvage the better areas.

“Spiderwebs are only a year away from holes,” he said, referring to cracks in the road’s surface. Bowman said he hoped the borough street department can do “anything they can” next year, and that the borough can put together a plan to repair the road properly over the next two years. “If we don’t, we are in for a disaster out there,” he said.

In other road matters, council discussed several railroad crossings in the borough, including ones at Center Street, Spruce Street, and West Broad Street. Steigerwalt said he has been in contact with the railroad and will continue to press to have the crossings corrected.

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