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Youghiogheny River Lake

Pittsburgh District
Published Jan. 10, 2024

Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938, Youghiogheny River Lake is one of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. The project provides flood protection for the Youghiogheny and lower Monongahela River Valleys as well as for the upper Ohio River.

Since its completion in 1943, the Youghiogheny project has prevented flood damages estimated to be in excess of $569 million. Youghiogheny has the capability to store the equivalent run-off of 11 inches of precipitation from its 434 square mile drainage area.

In addition to flood control, the dam helps to alleviate pollution problems by releasing additional water downstream during low water periods. Increased stream flow improves water quality by diluting polluted waters entering the rivers from towns, industries and coal mine drainage. The increased stream flow also improves the navigability of the Monongahela and upper Ohio Rivers for commercial navigation.

Youghiogheny Hydroelectric Authority holds a license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to operate a hydroelectric plant below the dam. D/R Hydro Company is the firm that has operated and maintained the plant since 1989. The power is fed into the Penelec power system and is used over its entire area which includes most of western and central Pennsylvania. The plant has the capacity to generate up to 12 megawatts of electricity per hour. This is enough to service approximately 8,000 homes for a year.

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