WAYNE COUNTY—Rehabilitation updates for five Wayne County dams were given in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) 2017 Annual Report.

Having been declared “high hazard dams” by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2016, the dams located at Belmont Lake, Lower Woods, Miller Pond, White Oak Pond and Hankins Pond were scheduled for construction projects to address their safety to the surrounding communities.

Of these, all but Hankins Pond Dam were fully funded to be rebuilt and recommissioned for use after the rehabilitation process, explained PFBC Chief of Engineering Paul Urbanik.

According to the PFBC report, Belmont Lake Dam and Lower Woods Dam are still in the design phase of their rehabilitation.

Urbanik stated the pair are under design by Schnabel Engineering, chosen by the state Department of General Services (DGS).

The design projects each are about 60 percent complete, he explained.

Once completed, the designs will need to be permitted before construction can begin.

The permitting process generally takes roughly one year to complete, said Urbanik, with construction taking an additional year to a year and a half.

Construction is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2020 or thereafter.

Of these, Belmont Lake is the only one still full.

It will need to be drawn down as part of the rehabilitation process, but dates for when that will occur are not yet finalized.

Also engineered by Schnabel Engineers, designs for Miller Pond and White Oak Pond are currently in the finalization process with an anticipated completion date of June 2020, said Urbanik.

Actual construction is expected to being as early as 2022, but surveyors and geotechnical drillers will likely be at the ponds this summer, said the PFBC engineer.

Hankins Pond Dam has drawn significant buzz as many are upset over news of the expected breach to be implemented as a safety precaution.

According to Urbanik, the breach of the decommissioned dam is expected to take place this fall.

The engineer stated 150-200 feet of the earthen embankment will be removed, leaving 800 feet intact.

Urbanik stated because of the dam's size, the cost to rebuild it would not be feasible.

The dam holds historic value as part of the Delaware & Hudson Canal system and later as a fish hatchery for the PFBC.