CHERRY RIDGE - A state official has responded concerning a controversy involving an area dam.
Colleen Connolly, spokesperson for the Northeast Region of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). shed some light on the situation surrounding the Lake Cadjaw Dam project.
The Lake Cadjaw Watershed Association (LCWA) is in an ongoing process to make the recommended repairs to the dam in hopes to keep the lake intact.
In a press release from the LCWA, it stated that "the DEP recently notified the Lake Cadjaw Watershed Association of its intention to breach the Lake Cadjaw Dam in 2016 if extensive repairs are not made to the existing dam."
"The DEP has never set any kind of deadline with the Lake Cadjaw Watershed Association in regards to the dam repair work," said Connolly in an email response.
She continued by saying, "The so-called 2016 deadline the association mentions has not been set by DEP. The department continues to work with the association on an on-going basis to make sure the same is safe and secure for the people who use the lake itself and for those who are downstream from it."
Connolly also responded to the issues surrounding the dam permit. The LCWA states that they were informed by DEP that "DEP did not have record of the dam permit for the Lake Cadjaw dam."
She says that is true.
"The DEP, in fact, does not have record of a dam permit for Lake Cadjaw," she wrote.
She continued her response by saying the permit issues is "related to the amount of time we are dealing with at Lake Cadjaw. The association cannot do any work or continue to do any work unless and until it obtains a Waterways and Encroachment permit" from the DEP.
Connolly said that the Waterways and Encroachment permit is something that "all private owners of dams in Pennsylvania" are required to have.
She also provided a response to comments made by the vice-president of the LCWA, Walter Jennerick, had regarding the experience with the DEP. Jennerick said that he felt the "DEP seems to be more concerned with plants than people."
Connolly says that could not be further from the truth.
"That statement by Mr. Jennerick is as ludicrous as it is ignorant."
She says that the DEP is "asking the LCWA to fix the dam primarily out of concern for the people who use Lake Cadjaw, but also out of concern for the 30-35 homes in Honesdale that are downstream from the lake and could be put in serious harm if that dam should ever break."
Connolly continued by saying that there are "approximately 95 people who live in those homes, not to mention the hundreds of people who come to the downtown as tourists, commuters and visitors on a daily basis."
Page 2 of 2 - She concluded by saying that "the DEP is putting people's safety first, as we would hope the LCWA would do also."