Somerset Lake Dam Rehabilitation

Somerset County, Pennsylvania

Somerset Lake is a focal point of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and provides ample recreation activities for fishing, boating and hiking. The 28-acre lake and its watershed support a variety of wildlife, including fish, turtles, ducks, geese, blue heron, egrets and a variety of other birds. Residents enjoy boating, kayaking and paddle boarding, as well as catch and release fishing for a variety of species.

Michael Baker provided engineering services for the rehabilitation of Somerset Lake Dam, which included a complete assessment of the existing structure, final design and construction administrative services. More specifically, services included site and geotechnical investigation, hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, permitting, dam inspection, rehabilitation design, and construction management and inspection. Somerset Lake was classified as a high-hazard dam, which means there was a potential loss of life downstream of the dam if it was to unexpectedly fail.

The Michael Baker team addressed the major concerns with the dam that included insufficient spillway capacity and control of seepage around the abutments that were observed during the site assessments. Ultimately, the team developed a dam rehabilitation design that complied with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Division of Dam Safety and provided construction management oversight.

By increasing the effective length of the weir, Michael Baker was able to reduce the overall width of the spillway, thereby reducing the overall construction costs to the owner. In lieu of reconstructing the earthen embankment, the team incorporated a chimney and embankment drainage system to lower phreatic surfaces through the dam. This cost-effective solution allowed a majority of the embankment to remain in-place and provided significant cost-savings to the owner.

The project was completed within budget and to the client’s satisfaction. It was honored with a Project Merit Award from ENR Mid-Atlantic and the Sustainability Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Section. 

Standard of Excellence

“Michael Baker provided comprehensive engineering services to address inadequate spillway capacity and other deficiencies and bring the dam into compliance with the Pennsylvania Dam Safety Regulations.”

– Project Manager 

Related Projects



Can’t find what you’re looking for? Whether you have a business inquiry, media request or general question or comment, our colleagues are available to assist.


Change Makers

Change Makers

We Make a Difference. If you’re looking to build your career and make a difference, explore our career opportunities in more than 80 offices across the country. Our corporate culture demands excellence and rewards innovation, teamwork and an impassioned entrepreneurial spirit.