LIHI Certificate #3 - Putnam Project, Connecticut

The Putnam Hydropower Project is a small facility located on the Quinebaug River in the northeastern corner of Connecticut.  The drainage area of the Quinebaug River at Putnam (as measured at a USGS gage about 1.5 miles below the Putnam Project) is 328 square miles.  The Project has a 1.5 acre reservoir, and a pre-Civil War cut stone dam measuring 145 feet in length and 14 feet in height.  It is operated in run-of-river mode.

The Putnam Hydropower Project is located in an industrial area of Putnam, and is the middle dam of three located within a mile.  The water quality in this area (a couple miles above and below the Putnam Project) does not meet criteria for primary contact recreation (swimming), and is a designated “non-attainment” area.  However, the Putnam Project has not been identified as a contributor to non-attainment.

Although northeastern Connecticut is relatively rural, the Quinebaug River is a moderately developed river system. Upstream from Putnam, the river, including the French River sub-drainage, is impacted by industrial and municipal discharges, urban runoff, flow regulation by hydropower facilities, flood control dams, and consumptive water withdrawals. The Quinebaug has been the subject of a number of studies including most recently, a two year intensive study by the USGS on nutrient loading (nearing completion); and the upper Quinebaug (mostly in the Massachusetts portion of the drainage area) is the subject of a flow study related to recently permitted consumptive water withdrawals for a new gas fired power station (the Millennium Project in Charlton, Massachusetts).  The Thames River (including the Quinebaug River) was also part of a two year (1992-1994) multi-basin assessment (including the Housatonic, Connecticut, and Thames rivers) by the USGS which assessed contaminants in streambed sediments and fish tissue, and nutrients and pesticides in surface water, as well as pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and nitrates in ground water.  At the time of the original certification, 2002, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection was in the process of revising its 1998 Water Quality Assessment and will be developing a focused management strategy for the river, including establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL’s), by the end of 2002.

Project Name Putnam
LIHI Certificate No. 3
LIHI Certificate Term April 10, 2017 - April 10, 2022
Owner Putnam Hydropower Inc.
State Connecticut
Location Located at river mile 38. 4 on the Quinepaug River in the northeastern corner of Connecticut.
Installed Capacity 575 KW
Average Annual Generation 2,750 MWh
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-5645 exempt 1982

Certification History

June 21, 2017: Having received no requests to appeal the preliminary certification decision for the Putnam Hydroelectric Project, the project received final certification as of June 17th, 2017.

May 17, 2017: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has issued a Preliminary Certification Decision that the Putnam Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. P-5645) continues to satisfy the LIHI Certification Criteria.

As provided for in Section 4.2.5 of the LIHI 2nd Edition Handbook, the Preliminary Certification Decision, along with the Application Reviewer’s report and (if prepared) report of the Executive Director, will be posted on the Institute’s Web page for 30 days.  Notice of the posting will be provided to all individuals or organizations that commented on the initial Application Package.

Any Commenter may submit a letter to the Executive Director requesting an appeal within the 30-day period.  The appeal request must state specific reasons why the hydropower facility should have failed one or more criteria.  Only individuals or organizations that commented on the initial Application Package may file an appeal.  Further information about the LIHI appeal process is available in the LIHI Handbook, available at

If no appeal is requested within the 30-day period, the Executive Director will issue LIHI Certification for the facility and post a notification of certification on the Institute’s website.  Once final, the effective certification date for the Putnam Project is April 10, 2017 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on April 10, 2022.

March 13, 2017: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Putnam Hydroelectric project. The application materials can be found in the Files section below.

LIHI is seeking public comment on this application.  Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Putnam project meets the LIHI Low Impact Certification Criteria, as revised in the 2nd Edition Handbook released in March 2016.  Please review the program and criteria in LIHI’s revised Handbook and then review the Project’s 2016 application materials posted on the project page.

Comments that are directly tied to specific LIHI criteria (flows, water quality, fish passage, etc.) will be most helpful, but all comments will be considered.  Comments may be submitted to the Institute by e-mail at with “Putnam Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, PO Box 194, Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640.  Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on May 12, 2017 to be considered.  All comments will be posted to the web site and the applicant will have an opportunity to respond.  Any response will also be posted.

March 1, 2017: The Putnam Hydroelectric Project has been granted an extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is June 30, 2017. See the extension letter for explanation below.

August 9, 2012: The Putnam Hydropower Project has been certified for a third five year term, effective April 10, 2012 and expiring April 10, 2017.

April 10, 2007: The Putnam Hydropower Project continues to meet LIHI’s certification criteria, and has been certified for a second five year term, effective April 10, 2007 and expiring April 10, 2012.

April 10, 2002: The Putnam Hydropower Project is the first hydropower dam in New England to earn Low Impact Certification, meeting all of LIHI’s environmentally rigorous criteria. The certification is effective April 10, 2002 for five years, expiring April 10, 2007.