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Posted 5/21/2018

Release no. 18-024

Jeff Hawk
1000 Liberty Ave. Suite 2200 Pittsburgh , PA 15217

WHO: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Pittsburgh District

WHAT: The Pittsburgh District is hosting a public tour of the East Branch Dam Safety Initiative to include the seepage cutoff wall construction site. The purpose is to provide the public an update on the construction progress and the opportunity to meet the project and lake staff and to see the integral features of work such as grouting, cutoff wall construction, and monitoring devices.

WHEN: Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. 1 p.m.

WEATHER: Rain or Shine, inclement weather may result in a bus-window tour only. In the event of severe weather forecast, we will notify attendees of event cancellation via press release, Facebook, District website. For those who have previously provided contact info, we will also notify by email or telephone.

WHERE: Vicinity East Branch Dam Project Office, 631 East Branch Dam Road, Wilcox, PA 15870-9748. Follow signs to parking area.

MEDIA: On the day of the event, representatives will be available for pre-event coverage, morning and evening broadcast live shots and during the event. Please call or email the Pittsburgh District Public Affairs office in advance to coordinate at 412-395-7500/01/02 or CELRP-PA@usace.army.mil

INSTRUCTIONS: This is a free event, open to the public. No sandals or heels. Please wear close-toed shoes. Some surfaces on the dam and in other areas are uneven or have grating. No weapons permitted. Please no large purses or backpacks.

WHY: USACE is committed to communicating its 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.

PROJECT STATUS: USACE 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.

Construction of the seepage cutoff wall is expected to be completed by fall 2020. Verification of the completed repair to allow USACE to operate the dam at full capacity and restore the reservoir to former water levels is weather dependent. USACE and the Contractor continue to identify and implement efficiencies in sequencing of the work that will reduce the construction schedule.

BACKGROUND: 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 embankment dam. The current total project cost is estimated at $248 million. That includes not only the cutoff wall construction contract, but also road improvements, 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 main objective is to ensure public safety while returning operation of the dam and management of the reservoir to its historical operation.


RESOURCES: For more information, visit:  www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Lakes/EastBranchClarionRiverLake.aspx www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Planning,ProgramsProjectManagement/KeyProjects/EastBra  nchDamRepair.aspx

CONTACT: Public Affairs Office at 412-395-7500 or Email: CELRP-PA@usace.army.mil

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construction dam safety East Branch Clarion River Dam Safety Project Pittsburgh District Public Tour U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)