Schuylkill County Municipal Authority

Indian Run Dam

Branch Township, PA

Indian Run Dam is located on Indian Run in Branch Township, Pennsylvania. The dam impounds a 49.5-acre reservoir used for drinking water by Schuylkill County Municipal Authority (SCMA). Original construction of the dam was completed in 1926 and a reconstruction of the spillway was completed in 1935. Indian Run Dam is a homogeneous earthen embankment with a concrete core wall that extends from the rock foundation to just below the crest of the dam. The dam is 700-ft. long with a maximum height of 94 ft.

The dam had a history of seepage issues and its spillway capacity was reported as inadequate. The Indian Run Dam was on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP) Unsafe High Hazard list. Rehabilitating the dam included: replacing the existing concrete spillway with a staged-labyrinth spillway, modifying the embankment slope, installing embankment/foundation drainage system, wetland mitigation, and clearing/grubbing of woody vegetation near the dam. Benesch provided design and construction administration services throughout the completion of this project.

This dam became a priority to SCMA when it was placed on DEP’s list of Unsafe High Hazard Dams. The project included the embankment work and a 90-foot-wide labyrinth spillway with a 400-foot-long spillway chute. All were constructed during a year with record rainfalls and a full pool of water in the reservoir. This project was funded with a grant through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s H2O PA Program and a low interest Pennsylvania Infrastructure Authority (PENNVEST) loan. The Indian Run Dam project was the 2013 ACEC/PA Diamond Awards – Honor Award Winner in the Water Resources category. This project was also presented at the 2013 ASDSO National Conference.

The final project cost was approximately $1.3 million under budget. All client needs, established schedules and PADEP requirements were met, and the dam was removed from the Unsafe High Hazard List.


Project highlights

  • Spillway replacement
  • Embankment stabilization
  • Seepage collection
  • Endangered species mitigation
  • Wetlands mitigation