Department of General Services

Mill Dam Breach & Stream Restoration

Berks County, PA

Mill Dam is located on the property of Wernersville State Hospital. The dam was constructed in 1937 and is listed as Category 1 “high hazard” Stone Masonry Dam. The dam had been operated in a full drawdown condition for over 25 years. Even in a drawdown state, there were occasions when the storm inflow temporarily filled the reservoir and overtopped dam, causing property damage at the facility.

Benesch provided dam breach design and permitting. In addition to survey of 3,500 LF of stream channel, along with stream investigation and stream restoration design. This included H&H analysis, geotechnical and wetlands. The stream maintenance consisted of removing sediment and restoring stream banks in the immediate area of Mill Dam. Additionally, Benesch provided contract and construction administrative services.

The property was also identified by the State Historical Preservation Office as a site with historical value. Benesch assisted with the development of the Memorandum of Agreement to meet Federal Clean Water Act Section 404 requirements. The coordination included Army Corp of Engineering, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Berks County Conservation District, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania Department of General Services, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, South Heidelberg Township, and local interested residents.

Project highlights

  • Stream bank restoration including sediment removal
  • Identified as a site with historic value
  • Compliance with Federal Clean Water Act, Section 404 requirements
  • Significant agency coordination