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Plans to fix broken Ellicott Creek dam in Williamsville

"The dam is broken"
Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 17:22:03-04

“The smells and the rodent problem stems from the fact there is no water in the western channel due to the fact the dam is broken,” explained Dan DeLano, deputy mayor, Village of Williamsville.

The broken Ellicott Creek dam off Main Street in Williamsville was built in the 1930s. It's now in bad need of repairs. It has not been in use for more than a year now leaving a section without moving water.

Dried up dam area off Main Street in Williamsville.

That's created a smell of sulfur, rats, and deterioration.

Williamsville Deputy Mayor DeLano is leading the charge to try and get it fixed.

Last week he called a special meetingwhere board members approved a plan to split the cost with the Town of Amherst for a temporary repair.

DeLano tells 7 News the sulfur smell was so bad that some town employees had to leave their offices.

“Amherst — you couldn't use part of their building. They had people going home sick, so they put us on notice. The businesses back there — there were complaints,” DeLano described.

Dam area behind Town of Amherst offices.

You can clearly get whiffs of this sulfur smell which is behind the Amherst Town building and then nearby restaurants.

It tried to speak to some employees and a nearby restaurant, but they declined to comment.

But at Britesmith Brewery on —Main Street, I was told the smell isn't too bad right now.

Dam area off Main Street behind restaurants.

At the Williamsville Village special board meeting last week a resident asked to speak, but it wasn't open for public comment. She told the board if the dam isn't fixed 1,500 homes could be in jeopardy of flooding.

“We need your help,” stated the resident. “That's what we're working toward — this is a temporary fix,” replied DeLano.

“We’re going to flood with water — you haven't changed anything. This has been going on for dam for 20 years — you know I've talked to you about this,” the resident remarked. “There's not an emergency. Ellicott Creek always has sulfur. I've lived here 68 years — the rat problem — we have rats all over, so this is nothing new."

Area of dam where water is flowing out of pipe.

Williamsville and Amherst have agreed to split the cost of about $41,000 to make a temporary repair.

Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kupla tells us the town board will finalize spending Monday night. Once the paperwork is submitted, the project can begin quickly and should only take three to four days.

Ellicott Creek dam.

DeLano says they are working on a study to figure out a long-term solution to the problem.

“And then we take it from there. It would obviously have to be through grant money because that's a huge project, but it doesn't only affect us, it affects you know up and downstream as well,” DeLano responded.