Ken Getty’s letter (“Don’t learn the hard way,” Nov. 3) expresses a concern that the Des Plaines River might dry up or be reduced to a trickle in a period of drought if the Hofmann Dam were to be removed or notched. He based his concern on his experience when he was a high school student when the Barrypoint Bridge was removed for two years.

First of all, while the Hofmann Dam raises the river level above the dam, the volume of water flowing past the Hofmann Dam is not changed by its presence. If the Des Plaines River downstream of the Hofmann Dam has a healthy flow in dry conditions, the flow up stream of the Hofmann Dam site will also be healthy.

What has changed over those years is the urbanization of the Des Plaines River basin. What was once farm land is now occupied by housing, offices, hotels, malls and factories. The sanitary waste water from all of these locations finds its way to the Des Plaines River via sewage treatment plants.

The flow from these sewage treatment plants relates to the population of inhabitants, employees and visitors in the Des Plaines River basin, not the weather conditions. This flow insures that the Des Plaines River has a reliable, adequate and clean flow even in extended dry periods.

When the Hofmann Dam was rebuilt in 1950, its height was established to a level that would ensure that the foul-smelling banks of silt would be covered with water. Sixty years later, those silt banks are now usually exposed and they don’t smell, because the river is a lot cleaner.

There are many advantages to removing the Hofmann Dam, including safety, ecological, recreational and reduced pollution for the Des Plaines River. In addition, the Indian Gardens Park would become drier and have reduced flooding and the residents of the 300 block of Fairbank Road would not be threatened with flooding.

Is there any advantage to retaining Hofmann Dam?

Peter Coster