Schuylkill County Municipal Authority

Kauffman Dam Rehabilitation

New Castle Township, PA

Background: Kauffman Dam is located on Kauffman Run in New Castle Township, Pennsylvania. The Dam impounds a 19-acre reservoir used to feed the Mount Laurel Water Filtration Plant which has a service area that includes seven municipalities. The reservoir is critical to the water supply for these municipalities. Kauffman Dam was originally constructed between 1894 and 1896 and has a homogeneous earthen embankment with a concrete core wall. The dam is approximately 573 feet long with a maximum height of 68 feet. Kauffman Dam was included on Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP) list of Unsafe High Hazard Dams due to slope stability and spillway deficiencies.

Scope: Kauffman Dam has had a history of issues and was reported inadequate during inspections. This rehabilitation project included: improving the spillway capacity by installing a staged labyrinth weir while maintaining the existing top of dam elevation, constructing an embankment drainage system and increasing slope stability by flattening the downstream slope, constructing a new spillway chute/stilling basin, extending the low-level outlet conduit, and constructing a new valve house. Benesch provided the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority with survey, design services and contract administration/construction observation.

Unique Features: Schuylkill County Municipal Authority received Commonwealth Financing Authority H2O PA Grant and a Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) Low Interest Loan for the project. Very little local funding was needed to complete this project.

Project highlights

  • Unsafe high hazard dam
  • New staged-labyrinth spillway
  • Embankment stabilization
  • Groundwater collection