The Hunts Pond (aka Winchendon) Hydroelectric Project is situated upstream of six (6) dams located on the Millers River and downstream of 3 other dams on the main stem of the Millers River. One (1) of the other six downstream dams is a hydroelectric facility owned and operated by an O’Connell affiliated company located at the New Home Dam (Mini-Watt Hydroelectric LLC).

Project Name Hunts Pond
LIHI Certificate No. 125
LIHI Certificate Term
September 8, 2015 –
September 8, 2020
Owner Winchendon Hydroelectric LLC
State Massachusetts
Location Located at river mile 38 on the Millers River  in Winchendon, MA.
Installed Capacity 0.12 MW
Average Annual Generation 297 MWH
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-8012, exempt 1985

Hunts Pond Dam is the middle of three dams in series (Whitney Dam (non-generating dam) is upstream and Tannery Dam (P-8895) is downstream on the Millers River in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Starrett, Cresticon Lower, Cresticon Upper, Birch Hill and Tannery Pond dams are owned and controlled by unrelated entities as are all of the projects on the upstream tributaries of the Millers River.

The Winchendon Hydroelectric Project holds a FERC Exemption (FERC No. P-8012-MA) with 0.12 MW installed capacity and is operated as a run of river project located at approximately river mile 37.9 on the Millers River in the Town of Winchendon in Worcester County, Massachusetts.

The Hunts Pond Dam FERC Exemption was issued February 19, 1985 and subsequently amended on June 27, 1991 by Mason & Parker (a manufacturer with principle place of business located at the site). Sometime between June 27, 1991 and May 13, 1992 the facility was transferred to Behrens Energy Systems. Behrens failed shortly after purchasing the facility and the facility fell into bankruptcy. The facility was purchased from bankruptcy by O’Connell Development Inc. in 1996. The Project is now owned by Winchendon Hydroelectric, LLC (“WH”), a wholly owned subsidiary of O’Connell. Prior to the bankruptcy purchase an inspection occurred with former operator of the plant on July 25, 1995 and at that time the operator indicated the unit had been off line for 2 to 3 years which would place the time that unit went off line around 1992 to 1993. FERC records indicate the unit went off line in February 1993 which is in general conformity with the operator’s recollection of the operating period. O’Connell repaired the existing units, updated the control system and returned the plant to operating condition. Hunts Pond Dam has been operated by O’Connell since 1996.The Project has been in continuous compliance with its requirements for exemption from licensing since 1996.

Hunts Pond Dam 3

The project works include a dam, an intake structure and a single powerhouse with two generating units. The turbine draft tubes discharge directly to the river with normal tail water elevation is 940.8 feet (no tailrace channel water is discharged directly back to the river with no tailrace channel adjacent to the base of the dam with backwater from the turbine discharge providing a wetted area to the base of the dam).

The Hunts Pond Dam creates an average 7.5-foot deep, 120-acre impoundment that is 2,081 feet long, with a normal surface elevation of 954.4 feet USGS datum. The impoundment extends approximately 2,081 feet upstream of the dam, in an easterly direction; with the maximum surface area is approximately 13 acres and storage capacity of 120 acre-feet. The drainage area at the facility is 54 square miles.

The concrete dam primary components, in order from south to north, consist of concrete south abutment, concrete Ogee dam with center abutment, concrete intake structure and concrete north abutment. Total length of dam including abutments is 184 feet. According to FERC records the dam was constructed in 1936. The dam crosses the Millers River in a roughly north to south direction. The toe of the dam is irregular but in general approximately 939.4 msl.

The facility’s principle features are further defined as follows:

The concrete south abutment is approximately 32 feet long from the embedment into the embankment to the Ogee section of the dam and is backed by earthen fill for the entire length on the downstream side of the abutment. The top elevation of the center abutment is 956.6 msl.

The Ogee section of the dam is approximately 97 feet long including the center abutment. The top elevation of the Ogee dam is 947.8 msl. Total height of Ogee Dam section is 8.4 feet. The top elevation of the center abutment is 956.6 msl. Total height of the center abutment is 17.2 feet. The Ogee Dam upstream to downstream width is approximately 20.5 feet. Along the top of the concrete Ogee dam section is a 6.6’ high Marden Style needle and stop log flashboard installation. The permitted top elevation of the stop logs is equal to the pond surface elevation of 954.4 feet msl.

The intake structure is located at the dam on the north side of the river. There is one steel head gate on the intake structure with dimensions 10.5 feet wide by 8.0 feet high and is equipped with chain hoist to raise and lower the gate. The head gate requires manual operation and is used for maintenance purposes only. The intake structure is approximately 25 feet long by 14 feet wide by 14.33 feet high. Normal water depth in the intake structure is 12.42 feet deep. There is a trash rack installed at the end of the intake structure just before the power house. The trash racks are constructed with 1” spacing and design water flow of 172 cfs with velocity of 1.94 fps. The floor and walls of the intake are constructed in concrete.

The concrete north abutment is approximately 41 feet long extending from the intake structure into the north embankment and is backed by earthen fill for the entire length on the downstream side of the abutment. The top elevation of the north abutment is 956.6 msl.

There are no proposed design changes to the dam or intake structures. The total existing and proposed head at Hunts Pond Dam is 13.6 feet. The total existing and proposed hydraulic capacity is 172 cfs.

Hunts Pond Dam 1

Google Earth Map of the Hunts Pond Dam and relationship to downstream Tannery Pond Dam and Upstream Whitney Pond Dam. (Please note Google Earth Maps mislabels the ponds in this area. Tannery Pond is downstream of Hunts Pond.)

Certification History

December 24, 2015 – LIHI Executive Director Michael J. Sale, using authority delegated from the LIHI Governing Board and a full review of the Application Reviewer’s report and all public comments and additional materials provided by the Applicant, has certified that the Hunts Pond Dam Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. P-8012) satisfies the LIHI Certification Criteria.  A Preliminary Decision was announced on November 25, 2015, and a 30-day appeal period was open through December 24, 2015. No requests for appeal were received. This Certification Decision includes one facility-specific condition, as follows:

  • Condition satisfied 2016: Within 30 days of LIHI Certification approval, the facility owner shall provide a letter to LIHI that commits to upstream and downstream passage protections for American Eel if and when such fish passage mitigation is determined to be necessary by the MDFW and/or USFWS.

The effective certification date for the Hunts Pond Dam Project is September 8, 2015 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on September 5, 2020.   The certificate is viewable in the Files list below.

September 8, 2015 – On September 8, 2015, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) received a complete application from Winchendon Hydroelectric LLC for the Low Impact Certification of the Hunts Pond Dam Project, FERC P-8012, located on the Millers River in Winchendon, Massachusetts.