Army Corps to host East Branch Dam Safety Project meeting

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Press Release

The US Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a public meeting Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m., to discuss the progress and activities of the East Branch Dam Safety Initiative Project in Elk County. The purpose is to provide the public a construction update about the Dam Safety Project and to give the community the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. The meeting will be held at the Johnsonburg High School Auditorium, 315 High School Road, Johnsonburg.
USACE is committed to communicating the efforts and progress related to the East Branch Dam Safety Initiative to all interested and impacted parties and to provide opportunities for the public to express concerns and provide input.
SACE is currently installing a full-depth seepage cutoff wall. The cutoff wall consists of a minimum 18-inch-wide continuous vertical concrete cutoff wall approximately 2,300 feet long with an approximate maximum depth of 250 feet through the existing embankment dam into bedrock. The seepage cutoff wall construction contract is expected to be substantially completed by the end of the 2020 calendar year. Following verification of the completed repair and local weather conditions, the USACE will begin to return the reservoir to its former operating conditions and water levels. USACE and its contractor continue to identify and implement efficiencies in sequencing of the work that will reduce the overall project schedule.
Public safety is the number one priority of the USACE Dam Safety Program. In 2008, the Pittsburgh District initiated a dam safety investigation into seepage-related concerns at East Branch Clarion River Lake in Elk County in western Pennsylvania. To reduce the risk to the public, Pittsburgh District implemented several interim risk reduction measures including increased monitoring, continuous on-site staffing, updated emergency action plans, and lowered water levels in the reservoir to relieve pressure on the dam. These and other short-term actions have allowed the district to minimize dam safety risk while still fulfilling the authorized purpose of the dam until permanent risk reduction measures are completed.
A Dam Safety Modification Study was completed and approved in October 2010. In August 2014, the Pittsburgh District awarded the $132.5 million East Branch Dam Cutoff Wall Rehabilitation Project to Layne Christensen Company of Ruther Glen, Virginia. The company’s Bencor Division, of Frisco, Texas, which is performing the dam safety work, was subsequently acquired by The Keller Group LLC. The work consists of constructing a full-depth seepage cutoff wall within the existing earthen embankmentdam.
The current total project cost is estimated at $248 million, which includes the improvements to the access roadway, additional instrumentation, lighting, and other project requirements.
Following the completion of the cutoff wall construction, USACE will conduct an evaluation of the repair to ensure that it meets the agency’s dam safety standards. Upon verification, the district will implement a water management plan that incrementally raises lake levels while monitoring the performance of the repair.
The district’s primary objective is to ensure public safety while returning operation of the dam and management of the reservoir to its historical operation.
For more information, visit: www.lrp.usace.army.mil and join us on the East Branch Dam Facebook Page.

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