Problems at Wrentham’s Crocker Pond Dam
Crocker Pond Dam has been deteriorating for several years now. Photo courtesy of Steve McKinney.
Contributed by Joe Stewart
Following the tropical storms in mid-September, including the storm which produced tornado warnings for Wrentham, nearby resident Steve McKinney noticed that Crocker Pond had broken through some of the rocks surrounding the Crocker Pond Dam.
McKinney noted that he’s watched the dam deteriorate over the past 5 years. Where once just a little water seeped through the rocks, now many of the rocks are missing and nearly as much water flows through around the dam spillway as flows through the dam spillway.
According to Kourtney Allen, Attleboro’s Water Department Superintendent, Crocker Dam is owned by Attleboro and is a low hazard dam in poor condition which needs significant repairs. Attleboro has been planning to replace the dam for several years and has budgeted close to $250K for a Phase 1 Design, Permitting, and Bidding project possibly in fiscal year 2028.
Allen said that the Water Department dispatched a crew to Crocker Dam shortly after the storm and then again a few days later to confirm normal operations.
New England’s exceptionally rainy summer has focused new attention on local dams, which some experts say may not be able to handle climate-induced storms. Several dams state-wide are considered vulnerable to extreme weather, which seems to be increasing.
McKinney has observed that ponds now form on both sides of Myrtle Street downstream from Crocker Dam. The stream from Crocker Dam passes through a culvert under Myrtle Street and ponds are forming immediately before and after the culvert. He also recalled that a sinkhole developed on Myrtle Street last year above the culvert, which was repaired. At press time, Wrentham’s Department of Public Works was unable to provide details.
Similarly, Wrentham’s Red Dam, which forms Lake Pearl, and Eagle Dam, which is downstream from Lake Pearl and forms a pond near Franklin Street / Route 140, are also in disrepair. Red Dam, which is categorized as a Large Size, Significant Hazard Potential Dam, has been found to be “structurally deficient and in poor condition.” The state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation issued a Certificate of Non-Compliance and Dam Safety Order to Wrentham.
The Dam Safety Order directs Wrentham to conduct every six months a “Poor Condition Dam Follow-up Inspection” on Red Dam and report results, perform a “Phase II Inspection and Investigation” with the final report due October 1, and bring the dam into compliance by October 1, 2024. As of press time, the reports were not available.