Public Q&A Session with Dam Advisory Committee

Saturday, October 10
12:00 Noon
Outside at the Community Building – Bring a lawn chair!
Rain Date:  Sunday, October 11
Can’t attend?
Submit your questions before the meeting to

Top 3 Misconceptions about the Penn Lake Dam Project

Community in Lackawanna County Loses Its Lake

This is a cautionary tale about what happens when a neighborhood loses its lake.

The important difference between these poor folks and Penn Lake is that they did not own their dam so had no control over it.  We own our dam.  If we lose our lake, it will be because our community did not step up to save it.

Click images to enlarge.

Photos taken October, 2006

Background Information

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Says Penn Lake Dam is Unsafe

On March 30, 2020 Penn Lake Borough was notified by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that it had designated Penn Lake dam as Unsafe. This designation does not mean that the dam is at risk for imminent failure.  But, it is 115 years old and does not meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Dam Safety and Encroachment Act.  It is classified by the DEP as a “High Hazard Dam” because there are numerous homes that would be risk downstream if the dam failed.

In April 2020 the Dam Advisory Group was formed.  The purpose of the committee is to guide the Borough in responding to the deficiencies outlined by the DEP and to keep the community informed of developments to address those deficiencies.

In May 2020 the Borough contracted with Borton-Lawson Engineering for a comprehensive assessment of the dam and to recommend repair alternatives and estimates of probable costs.  Borton-Lawson provided their report to the Borough on July 31.  That report and assessment was also sent to the PA DEP.  The least expensive alternative to address the dam deficiencies is estimated to cost $1.9 million.  Read the full report and assessment here.

On August 13, 2020 the Borough Council passed a resolution to place the following question on the ballot for the November 3, 2020 election.

Shall debt in the sum of up to $3 million dollars for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a dam to control and conserve Penn Lake be authorized to be incurred as debt approved by the electors of the Penn Lake Park Borough?

This ballot question is required because the Borough Council cannot legally incur debt over a certain amount without the approval of the community.

On August 19, 2020 there was a meeting with the PA DEP.  The DEP has no concerns with the $1.9 million solution and is not requiring us to drain the lake prior to the commencement of dam construction.

On September 3, 2020 a public meeting was held to inform the community about the developments with the dam and to get community input. If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can view and hear a recording of it here.

Next Steps.  The dam advisory group is committed to keeping the community informed of developments with the dam as they occur. The next public meeting is scheduled for October 10 at 12:00 noon outside at the community center.

Questions about the dam project?  Email your questions to the Borough secretary at and they will be forwarded to the dam advisory group.

Dam Newsletters and Mailings

write your detail or leave blank