MOUNT PLEASANT—In an effort to forestall the creation of a 150-foot breach in the historical stonework of the Hankins Pond Dam, the Wayne County Commissioners have launched an online petition requesting the Fish & Boat Commission consider implementing an alternative spillway to manage water runoff in the area.

As earlier reported, the nearly 200-year-old dam was originally raised by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company to feed their canal.

After the canal fell out of use, the dam was employed by the Fish & Boat Commission as a hatchery until it was drained in 2013 after being labelled a “high-hazard dam.”

Despite its draw down, the structure may still hold back water in the event of a heavy rain or flood which could burst through the dam, endangering lives and property downstream.

Looking to reduce the risk, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission plans to demolish roughly 75 feet of the structure to either side of the existing outlet as part of a $53 million campaign to address high hazard dams in the Commonwealth.

Seeking to preserve the historical monument, Commissioners Brian Smith, Wendell Kay and Joseph Adams have pursued avenues to take possession of the dam, “but have been unable to find a way to meet the dam safety requirements at a reasonable cost,” states a press release.

“We'd like them to find a way to get around the dam, rather than just blow a hole through the middle of it,” stated Smith in a press release. “We'd like them to do something less overall destructive.”

The county has looked to support from Senator Lisa Baker and Representative Jonathan Fritz in urging the Fish & Boat Commission to consider alternatives to breaching the dam.

This includes possibly routing a spillway around the structure to maintain both the safety of people and property down river, as well as the integrity of the historical monument.

Members of the public interested in joining the campaign can sign the online petition at: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-the-hankins-pond-dam-from-demolition.html.