Ballville Dam Removal Project

River Restoration
Project has community excited about economic development flowing along the river again.

MWH started in July on the removal of the Ballville Dam, which for the last 105 years has occupied a stretch of the Sandusky River in rural Ohio, about an hour south of Toledo.

Crews are chipping away at the 400-foot wide and 34-foot tall dam using track hoes with mounted jackhammers. The structure should be substantially demolished by the end of August, depending on potential weather delays.

Watch the progress on project web cam

After demolition, MWH will manage the restoration of the riverbank, including permanent seeding and tree and wetland planting on 21 acres upstream and the dam site. That work is scheduled to be completed by the end of December.

The Ballville Dam was built in 1913 as a hydroelectric generation facility, but it hasn’t been in use for decades. For more than 20 years, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has sought approval for the dam’s removal.

While it hasn’t been easy for the City of Fremont to say goodbye to one of its historic landmarks, the community is now looking forward to what a restored riverfront can offer to the region.

“There’s a buzz of excitement in the community.” – Ken Frost, City of Fremont

“There’s a buzz of excitement in the community,” said Safety Service Director, Ken Frost, who is overseeing the project for the City of Fremont. “Residents are excited about outdoor recreational activities like fishing and kayaking. And the anticipation of the river being restored to its natural state is already attracting economic development opportunities that we are confident will benefit the city and surrounding communities.”

MWH Project Manager Kurt Koepf and Ken Frost, Safety Service Director, City of Fremont

To realize the vision of kayakers and canoers paddling down the river through downtown Fremont, Ken said the city has been holding collaborative meetings with stakeholders about recreation and tourism opportunities.

Ken said the MWH team has been instrumental to getting the project this far.

“They are part of the team, they’re like family up here,” Ken said. “MWH has taken every step possible to make sure this project runs smoothly and is on time. They have gone well above and beyond what I would expect any contractor to do.”

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