Gilboa and NYPA dams safe after Schoharie County earthquake

Above: A map of the epicenter of the earthquake that hit North Blenheim on Saturday, Sept 26. Map by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Schoharie County on Saturday night, Sept. 26 did not damage the Gilboa Dam or the New York Power Authority's Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project, officials say.

The earthquake, which happened at 11:16 p.m. on Saturday night, had its epicenter in the town of North Blenheim.

According to a map from the United States Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was between the lower and upper Blenheim Gilboa reservoirs that make up the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project (see above).  

Steven Gosset, a spokesman from the New York Power Authority, issued a statement saying that the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project was inspected after the earthquake and no problems were found.

"Inspections were immediately performed and no problems were discovered," he said. "Follow-up inspections confirmed the initial findings and the plant is operating normally."

The nearby Gilboa Dam, which is operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, was also inspected after the earthquake and was found to be trouble-free, according to DEP spokesman Adam Bosch. 

"The dam safety inspector did a full inspection," Bosch said. "They found no issues at all."

The earthquake was felt by people up to 30 miles away from the epicenter, as far away as Howes Cave in Schoharie County, Roxbury in Delaware County and Durham in Greene County.

Petra Davenport, 22 miles away in Windham, felt something that jolted her and her dog awake. She thought a transformer had blown.

"There was a pressure change," she said. "I felt a boom rather than heard a boom."

Closer to the epicenter, doors and windows rattled, witnesses report.

This is not the first time an earthquake has shaken the massive dams in Schoharie County.

In 2011, a 2.9 magnitude earthquake hit the town of Altamont, near Albany. After that quake, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an inspection of the DEP and NYPA dams, which were 30 miles away from the quake's epicenter.

Saturday's quake was stronger and closer to the dams than the 2011 quake. Since that quake, the Gilboa Dam has been reinforced.