Mount Laurel Dam is located on Mud Run in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The dam is owned and operated by the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority (SCMA). Constructed in 1879, the Mount Laurel Dam feeds the Mount Laurel Water Filtration Plant which is utilized as a water distribution system. The dam is about 1,100 feet long with a height of about 39 feet. The dam impounds a 48-acre reservoir. Due to a deficient spillway capacity and seepage issues, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s placed it on the Unsafe High Hazard Dam Listing.
Benesch designed alterations to Mount Laurel Dam that satisfy current dam safety regulatory requirements. The improvements included replacement of the existing masonry spillway with a new concrete drop box spillway, modification of the embankment slope, installation of an embankment and foundation drainage system, new outlet system installation, and clearing/grubbing of woodsy vegetation near the dam. Benesch also provided construction administration services throughout the completion of this project.
Additionally, 80% of the funding for this project came from the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s H2O PA grant. The SCMA user rates were not impacted as a result of the project. The site had many obstacles including unknowns about the original construction. The outlet pipe remained in operation and the dam stayed at full capacity throughout construction. A new underwater piping system and valve tower were constructed and put into operation without issue.