Rehabilitation Begins For Hearns Pond Dam in Seaford - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehabilitation Begins For Hearns Pond Dam in Seaford

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Construction is set to be complete by May of 2017 (Souce: WBOC) Construction is set to be complete by May of 2017 (Souce: WBOC)

SEAFORD, Del. - Repairs have gotten started for the Hearns Pond Dam, one of Delaware's most vulnerable dams. Community members have been calling for repairs for more than a decade due to the flood risks to homes and infrastructure. At a cost of approximately $4.2 million, the state is rehabilitating the structure to bring it up to state regulations. 

During storms in August of 2001 and June of 2006, the Hearns Pond was filled with rainwater, causing it to pour over the dam. In both storms, the structure was significantly damaged, and the water poured downstream toward downtown Seaford. 

Susan Messick said that she remembered the significant damage in 2001. 

"My husband actually said to me ‘um - get up. You’ve got to come see. It’s gone.’ And I said ‘what’s gone?’ And he said ‘the pond.’ And I thought he was joking but he wasn’t. There’s actually a stream that ran through the middle of it. And we had no pond for a year.”

The water ran downstream to Williams Pond in 2006, causing that water to overflow as well. This flooding caused damage to many homes, including that of Steve Theis. 

"It was a panic," he said. "Panic emotions... Because you had a significant investment in a lot of equipment that was in my ground floor."

Bridge Engineer for The Department of Transportation Barry Benton said that this dam was on the top of the list for needing repairs. 

"Without this project," he said. "Another dam failure would happen with the right rainfall. With this project, residents of the area can be sure that the dam will perform well.” 

The project is being done through a partnership between DelDOT and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The two state agencies are teaming up to restore dozens of dams over the next 50 to 100 years. 

According to DNREC, Hearns Pond is also a popular fishing, boating, and recreational area, bringing in approximately 10,000 anglers per year. The repairs are expected to be complete by May, 2017. 

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