The Pinery Feeder Dam on the Cuyahoga River in Ohio dates back to the early 19th century, during the construction of the Ohio Erie Canal. The obsolete dam was one of the last two dams to be removed along the Cuyahoga River to improve water quality initiatives. Dam remnants created accumulations of stagnant, low-oxygen water, caused sediment deposits, and restricted fish movement along the river. Their removal spurred an increase in clean water and wildlife recovery in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park region. PRIME AE served as the engineer of record to Kokosing Construction Company for this design-build project that involved the removal of a canal diversion dam (CDD) concrete structure in the Cuyahoga River, the remnants of the Pinery Narrows Dam, and wooden crib structure located upstream of the CDD. It also involved the construction of a stormwater screw pump with gravity sewer discharge to the Ohio and Erie Canal to restore the stream bank and disturbed areas. Before removal, the canal feeder structure upstream of the CDD was stabilized to prevent structural failure due to change in hydraulic properties associated with the dam removal. The result was the stabilization of a significant portion of stream bank using mostly native and recycled material from the dam demolition.
Our team evaluated the site for the location of the screw pump, ultimately determining it should be built on the east bank of the river to minimize impact to the canal feeder structure and surrounding vegetation. This intentional placement near the CDD would also allow it to take advantage of the natural river topography and supply water to the pump. The team prepared detailed design documents, assisted with permitting, performed the final details for the screw pump operation, and provided technical assistance during construction activities for the project. Thanks to PRIME AE’s partnership with involved parties and local stakeholders, the Cuyahoga River flows freely for the first time in nearly 200 years, protecting and renewing the area’s natural resources.