Union City Dam Finally Put To Another Use


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By Chris Lash Publisher

The Army Corp of Engineers built the Union City Dam in 1971, and its one job so far has been to help control flooding in our area of Erie County, including the French Creek Valley. For as long as this author can remember, it seemed that we were promised more for the dam, including a great recreational area, that never came to be.

But now an Alabama company, who specializes in renewable energy, wants to use the dam to power as many as 1,000 homes. The firm, Hydro Green Energy LLC, based in Birmingham, Alabama, has applied for a preliminary federal permit to install a hydropower system at the dam, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built and owns.

The system, according to the application, would include two turbines placed underwater near the outlet pipe that releases water from behind the dam into French Creek. The process from start to finish will take up to four years to complete. According to a release from Hydro Green, the project will cost 3 to 4 million dollars, and while the system will power up to 1,000 homes, information revealed doesn’t guarantee that those homes will be in Union City.

In addition to the Union City Dam, the other northwestern Pennsylvania sites on Hydro Green’s application list are the Tionesta Dam on the Tionesta River near Tionesta in Forest County, and the East Branch Dam, on the Clarion River north of St. Marys in Elk County.