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PECO TO REBUILD NORRISTOWN DAM, TRANSFER OWNERSHIP TO MONTGOMERY COUNTY

 PHILADELPHIA, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move that will preserve recreation along the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia Electric Company (NYSE: PE) (PECO) has agreed to rebuild the Norristown Dam at a cost of $3.1 million and transfer ownership to Montgomery County.
 At their regular weekly meeting today, the Montgomery County Commissioners unanimously approved the donation arrangement, culminating more than a year of discussions with state, county, and local officials. A formal transfer of the deed will take place next year when reconstruction is completed.
 Joseph F. Paquette Jr., PECO chairman and chief executive, said, "This agreement maintains a valuable community resource with great benefits for the residents of Montgomery County.
 "PECO is very appreciative with the local and state elected officials who were supportive of this agreement, and we wish to thank everyone for their cooperation in bringing this about."
 A 150-foot section of the dam, located at the foot of Swede Street, had been partially reconstructed in 1984.
 Since the company no longer needed the dam to support its decommissioned Barbadoes Generating Station, PECO was forced with a decision of either dismantling the dam or transferring ownership to the another organization, such as the county.
 Today's agreement also stipulates PECO will design and install a fish passageway, if similar passageways for migratory fish are built at Flat Rock and Plymouth dams downstream. Engineering design for the new dam structure will accommodate future construction of a passageway.
 PECO also will provide $60,000 to cover future inspection, insurance and maintenance costs.
 The 900-foot wide dam that spans the river between Norristown and Bridgeport will be rebuilt as a passive, maintenance-free concrete and earthen structure with no mechanical parts.
 PECO is seeking a construction permit with the state Department of Environmental Resources. Engineering design is under way, and PECO expects to soon advertise for construction bids. Construction is expected to begin this fall.
 The dam creates a reservoir extending upstream five miles, creating water supply and recreation opportunities. It was originally built in 1836 by the Schuylkill Navigation Company. PECO has maintained it since 1923 when the company began generating power at Barbadoes. The company assumed ownership in 1955. Barbadoes ceased operation in 1980.
 /delval/
 -0- 7/29/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Wood of Philadelphia Electric, 215-841-4125/
 (PE)


CO: Philadelphia Electric Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:

MK -- PH023 -- 7328 07/29/93 15:05 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 29, 1993
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