Fall River, Dartmouth officials begin talks on Lake Noquochoke

Jul 9, 2019

Dartmouth and Fall River officials have made it clear: Both want to see Lake Noquochoke maintained as it is today.

That was the main outcome of a recent meeting between officials from Dartmouth and Fall River, regarding what to do about the lake and its aging dam. The dam is in need of rehabilitation, and the City of Fall River recently commissioned a study to determine options and costs associated with the needed work. 

“It’s the start of a long process to figure out what will be implemented from the dam study, and what the split in cost will be between the town [and city,]” Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes said of the meeting.  

MacInnes said Fall River is now drafting an inter-municipal agreement to outline next steps and exactly how the two municipalities can work together to come to a resolution. 

In the engineering report, which was released earlier in the year, costs were estimated at $1 million to remove the dam, $1.7 million to rehabilitate the dam, and $1.9 million to repair the dam, and include a 30 percent construction contingency. Proposals to rehabilitate or repair the dam would also include the construction of a fish passage for an additional estimated cost of $475,000.

Although the lake is entirely located in the Town of Dartmouth, the City of Fall River owns the water rights. The city has no need for the dam anymore — it was once used to power mills which have since been demolished — leading Fall River water officials to discuss the possibility of simply breaching the dam.