Exeter River Dam

The Exeter River Dam on Mill Road in Brentwood has not been used as a hydroelectric dam for many years.

BRENTWOOD — The state wants a judge to force the owner of an aging dam to come up with a plan to repair the structure or have it removed.

The Attorney General’s office has asked a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to find that dam owner Brentwood Dam Ventures LLC violated various state laws and now must take immediate action to address concerns over the dam off Mill Road.

According to the state, the Department of Environmental Services performed a visual inspection in June 2017 and found several violations related to the dam’s condition.

The dam was built in 1927, but stopped operating as a hydroelectric dam many years ago.

Some of the deficiencies found included significant cracks along the upstream concrete face and additional cracks and leaks on the downstream face.

Gate stems and boards were also found to be rotten and the gate was stuck partially open and collecting debris.

DES reviewed records and found no operation, maintenance and response plan for the dam on file, the state said in court paperwork.

The state reclassified the dam’s hazard rating from low to significant in August 2017 based on the results of a dam failure analysis.

The change meant that the dam’s owner was now required to create an emergency action plan.

DES issued a letter of deficiency in August 2017 asking that the owner repair the dam, develop an operation, maintenance and response plan and an emergency action plan, and hire an engineering consultant to perform dam-related assessments and analyses.

DES issued an administrative order in September 2018 that found Brentwood Dam Ventures had violated several statutory requirements and administrative rules with respect to the ownership of the dam, according to the state.

The order found that the company had failed to maintain and repair the dam so it wouldn’t become a “dam in disrepair” and failed to develop and submit the emergency action plan.

Brentwood Dam Ventures was informed that it had the right to appeal the administrative order to the New Hampshire Water Council within 30 days of the decision, but the state said no appeal was filed.

In April, the state filed a court petition seeking an injunction to address some of the problems. In response, Brentwood Dam Ventures denied some of the allegations and asked the judge to dismiss the petition.

Naoto Inoue, principal of Brentwood Dam Ventures, has told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the company can’t afford the repairs or the removal.

In court documents filed earlier this month, the state asked a judge to order Brentwood Dam Ventures to abide by the terms of the administrative order; prepare and submit an emergency action plan within 30 days of any court order and require the company to either maintain and repair the dam no more than 45 days after the order is issued or remove the dam.

If the dam isn’t repaired or removed within 45 days or if the company indicates that it won’t be able to remove or repair it, the state wants the court to allow the state to remove it at the company’s expense.