North Dam Signage
To many Batavians, the sight of the Fox River pouring over the Batavia Dam next to the Challenge Factory is an iconic view in our city. Recently, the city installed a system of signs and lighting that impact the aesthetics of this iconic location. This signage has the specific purpose of preventing a potentially tragic loss of life.
Low head dams such as the Batavia Dam are very dangerous because they create a vortex of water called a boil below the dam. This revolving strong current acts as an undertow trap. It has been known to pull individuals underwater where they either drown or require rescue if emergency responders can arrive in time. Due to the design of these dams, dangerous incidents such as these can occur even during periods of normal or low water flow on the Fox River.
Low head dams pose a particular risk to people who may carelessly or accidentally fall into the water near the dam. The signage system now installed is designed to warn people to stay back from the riverbank, to discourage walking on the dam structure and to avoid walking on building infrastructure surrounding the dam. The signage is also installed to warn boaters, canoeists, and kayakers not to venture close to the dam. In many seasons and river conditions, there is a risk of being swept over the dam. All such incidents pose risks to first responders should a water rescue be required near the dam.
The City of Batavia recently determined that it owns the Fox River dam structure in our community. The city retained the services of an attorney specializing in land ownership issues to gain insight on the matter. A legal determination has been made that the city owns the dam.
The city had the dam inspected by a third party and received recommendations specific to what size and type of signage and lighting are recommended in the vicinity of low head dams in Illinois. To reduce the risk of injury or drowning, the City of Batavia has installed this recommended safety signage system near the low head dam.
Public safety is the utmost priority and obligation of the City of Batavia. Therefore, prevention of accidents and reduction of life-threatening risks around this structure have been implemented to the maximum possible extent and must take precedence over aesthetics.