When Lehigh County gave some park land about a decade ago, the gift included the Fogelsville Dam. That gift could get expensive.
The dam along Hassadahl Road “is deteriorating and our insurance company is concerned about that,” according to Upper Macungie Supervisor Kathy Rader. So is the state Department of Environmental Protection, which told the township a couple of years ago that it should either repair the dam or breach it, which would mean removing the barrier holding the water back.
“The dam has been on the high hazard list for a few years now,” said Kevin Sunday, DEP spokesman. “Were there to be a dam failure, there would be a potential for damage or loss of life.”
Township supervisors have asked Dean Haas, township engineer with Keystone Consulting Engineers, to come up with a hazard mitigation plan for the dam and recommendations for a long-term solution.
“There are options to improve and restore the dam or breach the dam,” Haas said. But the dam also helps to hold up Hassadahl Road, so it can’t be removed without extensive work on the road, he said.
The concrete dam is 110 foot across and 13 foot tall and 12 foot wide at its base. The structure is full of silt and close to the road, both of which would make remediation expensive.
DEP has no funds available to help pay for such a project but it is working with local state legislators to see if there might be other funding available, Sunday said. “Obviously it’s a big decision for the township,” he said.
Built in 1914 by the Lehigh Portland Cement Co., the dam would corral excess water coming from limestone quarries that were mined. When the company closed the quarries, it turned the dam over to Lehigh County, who gave it to Upper Macungie along with the Route 100 Park land near the intersection with Tilghman Street. The dam is a short walk from the park on Haasadahl Road; people still fish there.
Hassadahl is a Pennsylvania Dutch word meaning Rabbit Valley, Rader said.
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