Hinckley Reservoir serves water to 130,000 people in the Greater Utica, New York area. The reservoir is located in the towns of Russia in Herkimer County, and Remsen in Oneida County.
The reservoir, known by the name of the village near which it is situated, Hinckley, New York is about twenty miles north of Utica, New York in the foot-hills of the Adirondack Mountains. The topography of its watershed of 372 square miles is rugged and varies in altitude from about 1,165 to 3,100 feet above sea-level. The drainage basin of this creek, like that of the upper Mohawk, is located in the region which has the maximum precipitation of the state, a precipitation which is exceptionally high during the winter months, in the form of snow.
No constricted gorge, where a short dam might be built, was available on the site of this reservoir. The dam has a total length of 3,700 feet, of which there is a 400-foot masonry section, embodying gate chambers and spillway. The major, or earthen, portion of the dam has a concrete core wall running through most of its length. The masonry content of the dam is 110,020 cubic yards, while there are 611,200 cubic yards of embankment in the earthen section. The masonry has a maximum height of 82 feet above rock and the overfall at the spillway is 61 feet. The maximum height of the earthen dam is 56 feet above the natural surface.
The reservoir forks into two parts, which have a combined length of about thirteen miles but no great width, only about a half mile. Its area is 4.46 square miles and its capacity 3,445,000,000 cubic feet. The maximum depth at crest level is 75 feet and the average depth, 28 feet. It necessitated the removal of 209 buildings, which made up parts of three villages, and it submerged seven miles of highways. This reservoir too is of much value for flood regulation, the maximum rate of flood discharge being very materially reduced.
Gregory B. Jarvis Plant is named in honor of the 41-year-old payload specialist from the Mohawk Valley who was killed aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. This 9,000-kW facility began operation in June of that year. The power plant, containing two turbine-generators, is part of state-owned Hinckley Reservoir, which straddles Oneida and Herkimer counties. It is located about 20 miles from Mohawk Central High School, where Jarvis graduated in 1963.
The public water supply of Utica was owned and operated by the Consolidated Water Company of Utica of which J. V. Bacot was president and Professor George C. Lodges was biologist in charge of the maintenance of its sanitary quality. The supply is derived in part from the West Canada creek, impounded at Hinckley 15 miles northeast of the city, and in part from surface streams impounded in several reservoirs just south of the city. The original supply was installed in 1850 and consisted of a reservoir supplied by the so-called Graftenberg springs, located in the hills south of the city. As the population increased additional reservoirs were constructed and surface streams impounded, constituting what is known as the southern supply. About 1907 the supply from the West Canada creek was introduced into the city. In 1915 the barge canal reservoir at Hinckley was completed. It is from this reservoir that the West Canada creek supply was taken, at least through 1918.
The intake at the Hinckley reservoir consisted of a gate house located about midway of the dam, the point of intake being about 25 feet below the water surface. The reservoir was approximately 4 miles long and 5 miles wide at the dam. Its capacity is estimated at 25,000,000,000 gallons. From this intake the water flowed by gravity through about 10 miles of 24-inch mains to a diverting reservoir located in the town of Marcy about 6 miles north of Utica. From this reservoir water was diverted to 2 distributing reservoirs, one known as the Marcy reservoir, located in the town of Marcy and the other, known as the Deerfield reservoir, located in the town of Deerfield. The Marcy reservoir was an open reservoir formed by earthen embankments paved on the inner slopes and with a capacity of 15,000.000 gallons. From this reservoir a 24-inch main led to the northwestern section of the city's distribution mains. The Deerfield reservoir was of similar construction to that of the Marcy reservoir and had a storage capacity of approximately 106,000,000 gallons*. From this reservoir a 20-inch main led into the city distribution system at the foot of Genesee street.
On the New Hartford distribution system was a stand-pipe with a capacity of 150,000 gallons and on the Oriskany distribution system is a stand-pipe with 250,000 gallons capacity. Another supply has been obtained in the past from a small intake dam on Keels creek not far from the Deerfield reservoir. This however is not now used.
The watershed of West Canada creek above the Hinckley dam has an area of about 400 square miles. This area consists of foot hills of the lower Adirondacks, covered in the main with second growth timber and very sparsely inhabited. It is estimated that there are some 1,500 people upon the watershed or about 4 per square mile. The soil is largely sand and gravel. and in biotic portions rather extensive swamps occur. This watershed, as well as those for the southern supply, is protected by regulations enacted by the Department in 1907. The water company is required to maintain a monthly patrol of the watersheds and to maintain sanitary conditions thereon in accordance with the stipulations of the rules. A resident caretaker is employed by the company to patrol the watershed and abate violation of the rules. At the time of the inspection it was evident that the caretaker of West Canada creek has been somewhat negligent in looking after both the privies provided with removable containers and the watertight cesspools located within limiting distances of the stream or its tributaries. Steps were immediately taken to remedy conditions. On the whole, however, conditions upon the West Canada creek are fairly satisfactory from a sanitary standpoint, although in some cases dwelling houses and farm buildings are located rather close to the stream or its tributaries. Considerable protection is, however, afforded by the large storage secured in the Hinckley reservoir. Perhaps the most serious opportunity for pollution of the supply is due to the logging operations carried on upon the watershed bringing about the use of the creek and the reservoir for the floating of logs to the pulp mill at Hinckley.
The watershed of Starch Factory creek, tributary to reservoir No. 2. is approximately 2 square miles in area and the population thereon may be estimated at 50 per square mile. The majority of houses upon this watershed are fairly well distant from the stream or its tributaries, although as the slopes are precipitous, the run-off at times of heavy rainfall undoubtedly carries considerable contaminating material into the supply. In case of the watershed tributary No. 4, the area is about 1 square mile and some 8 or 9 houses only are located thereon. The population may, therefore, be estimated at about 40 per square mile. Of these houses, all but two are along the extreme south edge of the watershed area and there seems to be little opportunity for direct contamination of the supply. The watershed tributary to reservoir No. 1 is one-half square mile in area with an estimated resident population of 30 per square mile. The houses are located fairly well distant from the stream. These southern watersheds are also patrolled by a resident caretaker.. Many of the houses are provided with privies having removable containers which at frequent intervals are emptied and the contents disposed of by the patrolman.
In February, 1917, a rather serious but localized break of typhoid fever occurred in Utica, NY which upon an investigation by this Department was attributed to an infection of the water in the mains through cross connections between auxiliary fire supplies from polluted sources. As a result of recommendations of this Department steps have been taken by the city authorities to secure means whereby a similar occurrence may not again happen. It is proposed that where gate valves alone or single check valves have been used in making such cross connection, double checks and gates be provided and so located in accessible manholes as to permit of frequent and regular inspections and tests.
The results of analyses of the raw water from the Hinckley supply have shown in the past a moderate amount of active contamination as indicated by the total bacterial counts and the presence of organisms of the E. coli type. The herewith tabulated analyses of the treated water from this source, however, show that effective sterilization was being secured at the time the samples were collected, the total bacterial counts being low and organisms of the E. coli type being absent in the inoculations tested. The water from the northern supply is, however, highly colored although very soft. It contains considerable amounts of organic matter, derived undoubtedly from the swamps through which the stream at certain points passes.
In the case of the southern water supply the raw water shows evidence of active contamination and thus the necessity of careful purification is indicated. The samples of the treated water show that sufficient sterilization was being maintained at the time the samples were collected, although it is evident that in the case of the supply going to New Hartford, the water was somewhat unsatisfactory, due to the failure of the chlorination plant to properly operate for that supply. The water from the southern watersheds is extremely hard, fairly free from color, although at times rather turbid. The figures for organic matter are decidedly less than in the case of the northern supply.
Built cross West Hinckley Canada creek near the village of Hinckley.
Hinckley Reservoir was constructed by the State of New York and completed in 1915 for the purpose of supplying water to the enlarged canal. Hinckley Reservoir was located at its present site primarily because of its proximity to the canal and its elevation above the canal.
Dam Facts. 3,700 feet long, mainly an earthen structure with a concrete core wall. At the creek channel there are gate chambers and a spillway 400 feet long. The masonry contents of this dam are 110,020 cubic yards, while the embankment amounts to 611,200 cubic yards. The maximum height of masonry above rock is 82 feet and the overfall at the spillway, 61 feet. The area of the reservoir at crest level is 4.46 square miles; its maximum depth is 75 feet and average depth, 28 feet; its capacity is 3,445,000,000 cubic feet, drawn from a watershed of 372 square miles.
The lowest reservoir elevation in the record is 1174.9 ft observed on November 17, 1964. Hinckley has reached a record low level of 1,189.0 ft above sea level on September 26, 2007. On March 10, 2010 with a level of 1187.7 ft When full to the spillway crest at an elevation of 1225 ft
From the report to the NY governor.
NYPA hydropower generation goes off line at an elevation of about 1195 feet; Drinking water withdrawal is affected at about 1185 feet; Canal navigation releases are affected at about 1173.5 feet; and Fisheries release rates are affected at about 1173.5 feet.
2010 On May 5, the reservoir reached a new daily recorded low elevation of 1215.4', which is 9' lower than the average recorded elevation for that day. Record low elevations continued through May until mid-June As of June 8, the reservoir was at 1215.1'which is 2.6' below recorded low levels for that day, and 8.8' below average.leegreen