The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA) recognized the Nesbitt Dam Rehabilitation project in its 2014 Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence competition on Feb. 24. The entry received the Honor Award in the Water Resources category. The Honor Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a project in each category.
The more than $27 million upgrade of Nesbitt Dam addressed complex safety deficiencies related to spillway capacity, seepage, and a long history of hillside instability. Because it is a primary source of water supply for 75,000 residents, the rehabilitation had to be completed with a nearly full reservoir, requiring the spillway to be in operation throughout the project.
The challenging dam geology with the left masonry portion of the dam perched on a vertical rock ledge and the right earth embankment founded on soil also led to many design and construction concerns. Despite all its challenges, the project was completed 15 months ahead of schedule, and not only meets the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection standards but, more importantly, provides the safe operation of this essential water supply dam into the next century.