HISTORICAL TIMELINE


1933- Gertrude Langley of Clearwater FL transferred property rights to Percy Wadleigh for $1.

1953– John M. Duston of Plaistow, NH purchased the dam.

1971- John M. Duston wished to sell the town water rights for the amount of $1, but Mr. Knowlton (Chief Engineer, Water Resources Board) stated that “water rights and dam ownership are inseparable”.

Dams and water rights are transferred by a standard real property deed and recorded in the County records in the same manner as any other deed. Dam and water rights go together.


1974 - Paul Phillips purchased the dam.

1977– A letter from attorneys Kearns and Colliander (representing the Riverside Improvement Association, a voluntary association of property owners along the Duston Shorea area of the Fremont River) to the NH Water Board argued that the impoundment is a public water body.

1978 - An article is published in The News-Letter, Exeter, NH about water levels and angry residents: Extremely low water levels causing water shortages, but some residents’ septics are flooded by higher water levels.

1986- NH Water Resources Board to Board of Selectmen (BOS) of all towns:  Concerned that Dams are being used for picnicking, swimming, boating and diving from the structures, which is dangerous and a liability to the state. Fences were put up and the state police were authorized to police the dams to enforce the no trespassing policy.

1993- Wetlands permit 92-01265 to Paul Phillips for dredging 1000 sq ft (80 cu yd) at inlet and outlet to eliminate silt and rocks in accordance to plan received by Wetland board.

1995- A letter was sent from Steve Doyon, PE, administrator of Water Resources Bureau to Paul Phillips regarding water level lowering without notification.

1996- Fremont BOS meeting notes introduced new business item 4, where Brentwood suggested a joint public hearing on the dam owners plans to drop water levels and repair dam. Fremont BOS agreed.

-    Brentwood residents attended the ERLAC meeting to outline the dispute over the management of the Mill Rd dam.  They said FERC licensed the dam for “run of the river” operations, which they claimed was being violated, that owner did not get FERC license for a new power generator that is generating power being sold to Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), and stated that river at its lowest point in 13 years loving along the river due to operation of the hydro unit.

-    The Department of Environmental Services (DES) visited the site during heavy flooding in the area. Crest of the dam was being overtopped by 2-3 feet of water. The low level gate was closed.

-    DES inspected the dam but high water prevented a complete inspection.  The following conditions were noted: extensive erosion at the right abutment and downstream embankment, and flow emanating from below the right concrete wall of the dam.

-   Newsletter for NH Office of Emergency Management, Vol 4, No. 1&2 mentions October 20-23 flood damage.

-   DES issued a letter of Deficiency (LOD) to the owner in November and December.


1997 - DES spoke to the owner, who said he would provide a schedule for evaluation and repair of dam.

-   Robert Varney, NHDES Commissioner, sends a letter in May. Aware of concerns that uncoordinated or improper operations of the dam exacerbated flooding during the Oct 1996 and April 1997 (Apr 17-20, 1997) storms.  

-   During the Oct 1996 storm, the gate to the Mill Rd dam remained closed and could not be later opened due to high water conditions.  

-   In addition, a subsequent release of water from the upstream Turner Dam increased flows in the Exeter River and the Mill Rd dam was overtopped by 2-3 feet of water. During the Apr 1997 storm, Mr. Miskoe (dam operator) was out of state and unavailable to operate the dam under high flow conditions

-   The letter noted that most of the abutters are likely within the FEMA 100-yr flood plain and while dam operation could have lessened flooding, these properties would likely still have been flooded.


-   NHDES sent a letter to Fremont BOS in June. NHDES does not have the resources nor the authority to monitor dam operations, relies
on owner to operate and maintain a dam in a responsible manner to prevent public safety issues.DES has no authority to coordinate dam operations in preparation for a storm for Class A dams (Mill Rd Dam is Class A), only Class B and C dams.

Dam owners “retain deeded flowage rights for lands that are permanently or temporarity flowed by a specific dam. Generally, resolution of disputes related to flowage rights are beyond the jurisdiction of DES.  Resolution of such disputes generally requires a civil action. Secondly, it is noted that dam owners have no obligation to maintain an existing impoundment. A dam owner may permanently breach a structure provided a breach plan has been submitted to, and approved by DES, and a 30-day notification has been provided to the local governing body. “

RSA 482:12
DES shall cause all dams in the state which may pose a menace to public safety to be inspected from time to time and “if the inspection indicates that the public safety requires the repair or reconstruction of any such dam or the development of an emergency action plan, the department shall order the owner of the dam to make the requisite repairs or reconstruction and to develop the emergency action plan with a period fixed by the order.”

-   The dam is in disrepair as defined by RSA 482:2 V because is poses a threat to public safety
as evidenced during the Oct 1996 flood, it does not contain adequate sluiceways or gates for controlling discharge. Erosion requires repair as progressive erosion would threaten the integrity of the dam, cause major damage to the adjacent road and would threaten the integrity of the road crossing the river approximately 100 ft downstream.

1998- Administrative Order WD 98-08 stated that the dam is a class A structure and poses a significant threat to warrant any necessary repairs to be made.
-   In March, a letter from Marshall Law Office, Keri J. Marshall to Town of Fremont, on behalf of Fremont Property Owner’s Association, Inc. stating damages due to mismanagement of impoundment water levels during 1997 drought and 1996 floods and that DES has issued an
Administrative Order.


2003  - Grace Levergood, PE, Dam Safety Engineer to FERC, stated concerns over the damages caused to downstream Brentwood properties during spring thaws.

2007 – A letter from Grace Levergood included recommendations for Exeter River Hydro project no. 1, NH#029.01

1. Stabilize downstream right stream bank adjacent to Mill Rd,

2. Remove the 6’ penstock and turbine from dam along the left bank

3. Remove the steel flume that runs downstream from the dam along the left streambank2010 - ERLAC met and discussed fluctuating water levels/dam maintenance (Representatives of NHDES Watershed Assistance, Dam Bureau, Fremont ConCom and ERLAC were in attendance)