St. John Valley

Blue barrel with GPS will convey ice-out data

ALLAGASH, Maine — NB Power wants to get better data on river ice-out information. For the past two years they have been testing a piece of technology that would assist them with that, and also provide that information to both Aroostook Emergency Management and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization in Canada.

This year, they will expand their testing to include the Saint John River by placing a 5-gallon blue pail on the ice at the Dickey Bridge in Allagash that has GPS technology sealed inside.  Officials plan to place the barrel by the middle of April.

Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency Director Darren Woods stated, “This has the potential of becoming a great source of information for us by allowing us to be alerted when the ice starts to move, and the pail will transmit real-time data of where it is moving to or even if it gets hung up.”

NB Power and emergency management officials are asking the public not to disturb this device once it is placed on the river.  

“We need folks to understand what it is and that it is important for us to not move or disturb the pail so the data won’t be compromised.” said Woods.

New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization Director Greg MacCallum stated, “This device will provide even better situational awareness of ice movement in the Saint John River and we appreciate the cooperation and assistance provided by our partners at the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency.”

Anyone with questions or concerns should contact the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency for more information at 493-4328, or visit the Facebook pages for EMA and/or Aroostook County Flood Watch.

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