Required Updates to Dam
In PA Regulation (§ 105.96. Outlet works), adopted in 1980 and amended in 2011, additional safety specifications were added to the construction of dams. The Lake Heron dam was built in the 1960s, before these requirements existed.
§ 105.96. Outlet works.
(a) Dams must include a device to allow the complete draining of the reservoir unless the Department determines that an outlet works is not feasible for a specific dam. At minimum, the device must be sized to pass a minimum of 70% of the highest mean monthly inflow at the site plus the capacity to drain the top 2 feet of reservoir storage below normal pool in 24 hours.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is requiring that updates be made to the outlet works of Lake Heron dam, but the cost of more than $500,000 is well outside the Conservancy's operating budget. You can help!
Looking at this project as an opportunity, our preliminary designs include changing the currently used surface overflow to a modified design that "overflows" water pulled from the deepest parts of the lake, where dissolved oxygen is low and sediment and phosphorus are high. This change will help protect the health of the fish, and increase water quality.
During construction, the lake will be drawn down partially. This may be another opportunity, allowing for the 65 year old lake to be dredged for the first time. Note that dredging is not included in project cost, so consider it a fundraising "stretch goal."
Lake Heron Conservancy developed the engineering designs in 2021/2022. Those plans are now under review by PADEP for approval. The updated schedule has construction starting in October 2023. Care is being taken to have as little impact, if any, to Lake Heron Retreat's May-October campground operations.