State Says Peters Dam Is 'Unsafe'
Pennsylvania agency says township council should look at ways to increase spillway capacity.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says the #2 dam at Peters Lake Park is unsafe.
The Division of Dam safety sent Peters Township Council a letter outlining the problems and stated that a study of hydraulic dam #2 shows it to be seriously inadequate according to new regulations.
Township council discussed the letter at its Monday night meeting. In it, the DEP stated that in the event of a probable maximum flood, the Peters Lake Dam at Center Church Road would likely suffer overtopping that would cause a potential for loss of life in downstream areas. The DEP's definition of a probable maximum flood would mean unprecedented rainfall of more than 26 inches in 24 hours.
The DEP revised its regulations governing dams last year in the wake of flooding after Hurricane Ivan back in 2004. The Peters Lake Dam was built in 1932 and the DEP says that the spillway is now considered to be undersized.
The DEP did not set any deadlines or timeline for the township to take action or respond.
"They're leaving it open ended and in talking with them on the phone I get the impression that they understand the implications and they know that it's not a small matter to undertake this," Township Engineer Mark Zemaitis said.
He said the township has several options.
"We want to get some concept plans and some cost estimates in front of us first before we talk to the DEP or state legislatures to see if we need to do anything," Zemaitis said. "There are a number of things you can do to widen the capacity of the spillway. You can widen the spillway, you can increase the crest height of the dam, you can build a secondary spillway. All options are on the table right now because we just really need to sit down and think about it."