District finds no significant impact at Cave Hollow Dam

USACE Pittsburgh District
Published March 19, 2014



The US Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, is proposing to cost share a spillway replacement project with the Borough of Fair-chance (Non-Federal Sponsor).  This project is authorized under Section 313 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 as amended, which has the primary objective of providing design and construction assistance to Non-Federal interests for carrying out water-related environmental infrastructure projects in south central Pennsylvania.

The proposed project consists of the design and replacement of Cave Hollow Dam's deteriorated spillway.   The Dam's purpose is to provide water supply to the Borough of Fair-chance residents.  Without this Dam and water supply reservoir, the Borough would be unable to meet daily customer water demands and unable to provide fire safety to the community it serves.  In addition to the concrete deterioration, the existing capacity of the spillway is inadequate, which poses a safety hazard and could result in flooding.

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Non-Federal Sponsor prepared an Environmental Assessment that evaluated impacts to environmental and cultural resources within the project area.  In compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, a Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory Search was performed which resulted in no known impact to threatened or endangered species.  In accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Pennsylvania Bureau for Historic Preservation which represents the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) was contacted..  The SHPO anticipates no effect to cultural or historical resources due to the proposed project.  A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit including erosion and sedimentation pollution control will be required for this project.

In addition to the proposed project, the Environmental Assessment included a "No Action" alternative, an alternative for lowering the dam spillway and an alternative for increasing the height of the dam.  "No Action" was determined unacceptable because the erosion ofthe concrete within the spillway allows infiltration and could eventually lead to catastrophic failure of the dam.  Lowering the dam spillway was unacceptable due to the loss of water storage within the reservoir.  Increasing the dam's height would require a significant amount ofborrow material which would be cost prohibitive and is also not an acceptable alternative.  Replacement of the existing deteriorated spillway was therefore the chosen alternative.

I have reasonably determined that the design and construction of the Cave Hollow Dam Spillway replacement project will not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, as defined in the Council on Environmental Quality’s current regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act.  The preparation of an environmental impact statement is therefore unwarranted and the public interest will be best served by the implementation of the proposed action.

This determination precedes the Corps of Engineer's final decision concerning this proposed action.  A notice of availability of this Finding of No Significant Impact will be sent to interested parties and placed on the District's website (http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil).


signed by: Bernard R. Lindstrom, March 18, 2014

Colonel, Corps of Engineers

District Engineer