Corps Accepts Public Comments on East Branch Operations

Published Aug. 5, 2020
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is accepting public comments concerning returning East Branch Clarion River Lake to normal operations. (U.S. Army photo by Terrence Durbin)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is accepting public comments concerning returning East Branch Clarion River Lake to normal operations. (U.S. Army photo by Dale Heeter)

WHO: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District.

WHAT: Announcement of opportunity for public comment of the district’s intention to return to normal reservoir operations as soon as practical, weather permitting. This is based on the finding of the East Branch Dam Post Implementation Evaluation that the recently completed grouting, secant and cut off wall successfully reduced the risk at East Branch Dam to within tolerable guidelines. The Corps’ Dam Senior Oversight Group accepted these findings, July 28. This acknowledges that the cutoff wall and related risk-reducing construction activities have been successful. Interim Risk reduction measures that included reduced pool levels and 24-hour project staffing are no longer required. Reference the following documents:

 - MFR DSOG concurs with EBR PIE team RISK TOLERABLE.pdf

 - MFR EastBranch IRRMPRevision 3 Final Redacted.pdf

WHEN: Comment period starts Aug. 5 and closes 11:59 p.m., Sept. 4.

WHERE: Comments are to be submitted to or by following the link below:

Mail-in comments can be submitted to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District, C/O: Project Manager Terrence Durbin, 1000 Liberty Avenue Suite 2203, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. 

All comments submitted or postmarked before Sept. 4 will be included for consideration. 

WHY: The district is committed to communicating the efforts and progress related to the East Branch Dam Safety Modification Project to all interested and affected parties and to provide opportunities for the public to express concerns and provide input.  

Project Status: The Army Corps of Engineers’ contractor completed the installation of the seepage cutoff wall, which was accepted by the district in March 2020. The contractor is in the process of removing the temporary work platform and placing large stone on the upstream face of the dam. Most of the work is expected to be completed before winter comes to allow the pool to return to normal summer pool by next spring, weather permitting.

Background: Public safety is the number one priority of the Pittsburgh District’s 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, the Pittsburgh District implemented several interim risk reduction measures including increased monitoring, continuous on-site staffing, updated emergency action plans, and lowered reservoir levels to relieve pressure on the dam. These actions allow the district to minimize dam safety risk while 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 contract to Layne Christensen Company of Ruther Glen, Virginia. The company’s Bencor Division, of Frisco, Texas, is performing the dam safety work and was subsequently acquired by The Keller Group, LLC.   


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Terrence Durbin
1000 Liberty Avenue, Suite 2203

Release no. 20-021