Dams and Civil Structures, North America

Pennsylvania grants $4.8 million for Leaser Lake Dam safety

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell announced the state will grant $4.8 million to help Lehigh County upgrade Leaser Lake Dam to meet state dam safety requirements.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission built the dam and 117-acre lake in 1971 to provide recreation. However, in 1999 it lowered the water level 20 feet after finding that previous repairs to the dam were insufficient and the structure failed to meet state safety requirements.

Specific improvements will include major upgrades to the spillway and work to stop seepage through the dam’s earthen walls. Lehigh County is providing $500,000 to supplement the state’s grants for improvements to the dam and to surrounding areas, the governor said Sept. 28.

The 1999 drawdown rendered the lake’s docks and boat ramps unstable and suspended boating. Once the new improvements are completed, boaters will be able to return to the lake.