Round Valley Reservoir Project

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Round Valley Reservoir Structures
Refurbishment and Resource Preservation Project

Site Investigation Work to Begin
February 21, 2017
Beginning the week of February 21, workers will be digging test pits in and around Authority property at Round Valley and Spruce Run Reservoirs.


Pumping into Round Valley
December 15, 2016
The Authority has begun pumping operations to add water to Round Valley Reservoir. It’s currently anticipated that pumping will be ongoing for several months, although the Authority’s ability to pump water into Round Valley is dependent on sufficient water levels in the South Branch of the Raritan River. Water levels in the South Branch are almost entirely dependent on precipitation, so the Authority’s ability to pump is also dependent on precipitation. This pumping will not replenish the reservoir to full capacity in the near future, but will increase the level of the reservoir.

Site Preparation Work to Begin
December 8, 2016
Beginning the week of December 19, workers will be drilling borings in and around the three embankments of Round Valley in preparation for design and construction of the rehabilitation project.


Engineer of Record Selected
November 17, 2016
The Authority has entered into a contract with the Engineer of Record for the project, Schnabel Engineering. Schnabel is a national leader in dam engineering with highly specialized experience in analysis, design, and construction support for new dams and the rehabilitation of existing dams. Schnabel has experience on more than 1,000 dam projects. As Engineer of Record, Schnabel will be responsible for the design and quality assurance aspects of the project. The design phase of the project is beginning immediately. The Authority anticipates that the major construction work on the project will begin in 2018, with certain parts of the project potentially beginning in 2017.

The Authority previously procured and has retained a separate engineering firm, Gannett Fleming, to act in the capacity of Owner’s Engineer during the project. Gannett Fleming is a global infrastructure firm with more than 100 years of experience in planning, design, technology, and construction management services. Gannett Fleming has been involved with the project since its beginning phases in 2014. In the capacity of Owner’s Engineer, they will oversee design and construction, consult with Authority Engineering Staff, and act as an additional layer of Quality Control / Quality Assurance during the design and construction phases of the project.

Additional details about the project will be posted on this page as they are available.

Note about Round Valley Reservoir Water Levels

The level of Round Valley Reservoir is currently lower than is typical due to drought conditions and the need for use of its water. The significant rainfall deficiencies in New Jersey this year have required the Authority to release more water than usual to maintain the required minimum flow rates in the South Branch and Main Stem of the Raritan River, while also providing the amount needed to serve 1.8 million residents of central New Jersey. It has been a dry summer and fall, and the lack of rain has necessitated higher than average releases. It is the Authority’s goal to release as little as possible. The Authority intends to pump water back to the reservoir in the winter and spring months in 2016-2017, however, pumping can only take place if there are sufficient flows in the rivers to maintain the required minimum flows and satisfy downstream demand from water treatment plants that withdraw from the Raritan River. This potential pumping will not replenish the reservoir to full capacity in the near future.

Once the visible work of the Round Valley Reservoir Structures Refurbishment and Resource Preservation Project is underway, it is possible that the water level in the reservoir will be lowered for construction purposes. The point to which Round Valley reservoir needs to be lowered for the project has not yet been determined.  That level will eventually be determined by the Engineer of Record. Planning and design work for the project is currently underway and the Authority anticipates the visible construction work on the project to begin in 2018. 

If additional lowering of the Reservoir level is required for the project (and not for water supply demand or river passing flow requirements) it will be closely coordinated under the supervision of the NJDEP’s Division of Water Supply and Geoscience as well as the NJDEP’s Bureau of Dam Safety. The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife, who manages the fishery at the Reservoir and the NJDEP State Park Service, who manages the other recreational aspects, will also be kept informed as to anticipated Reservoir levels.


Round Valley Reservoir Dams - Dye Testing
June 30, 2016
The Authority recently completed a 50-year checkup of the Spruce Run Reservoir and Round Valley Reservoir embankments (dams). The dams at both reservoirs have been in use since the mid-1960s. The Authority hired outside engineers and a team of internationally-recognized dam experts to conduct a holistic review of the dams and to evaluate their condition. Over the past year and a half, the Authority has conducted studies of the dams, as recommended by the consultants, including but not limited to: TV camera work on the existing drainage piping on the dams, installation of new piezometers (monitoring wells) on all of the embankments, and dye testing at the dam embankments at Round Valley.

The Authority has scheduled another round of dye testing at Round Valley for the end of the week following July 4, 2016. Testing will be performed in a small excavation in the grass area adjacent to the boat ramp parking area and in the reservoir at the abutments of the Round Valley Dike. An abutment is the point where the constructed dam meets the original edge of the valley at each end of the embankments. Approximate locations for the implementation of the dyes are shown on the map below. 

The dye is manufactured by BrightDyes. ( The Authority’s consulting engineers will use FLT Yellow/Green Powder and FWT Red Powder.  The dyes are safe for use in all public water supply systems, and are non-toxic/non-harmful to aquatic life. They are even approved at the recommended concentrations to be used in potable water systems.  It is noted that Round Valley Reservoir is not potable water, but is raw water that is treated by water treatment plants downstream on the Raritan River. It is anticipated that the colorful plume will be confined to a relatively small area in the reservoir. At the time the dyes are administered, several “downstream” locations on the dams will be monitored by Authority staff and its consultants. 

It is noted that the Round Valley Reservoir, at 82.7% capacity, is currently holding 45.5 billion gallons of water. Given those quantities, only 0.0006% of the water in the reservoir will be showing the color at each application. The coloring completely dissipates from exposure to sunlight over a period of two to three days.  In this case, however, due to the size of the reservoir and the small areas of water to which the dye is being applied, visual signs of the coloration will likely dissipate in less than 24 hours.

The dye testing is scheduled to occur the week following July 4, 2016 and should require three to four days, although dates may vary slightly.  The NJDEP Fish and Wildlife Division has been contacted and offered the following: 

“The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is informing anglers that the New Jersey Water Supply Authority will be initiating a "dye test" at Round Valley Reservoir during the week of July 4 (dates may vary slightly). The testing is done as part of routine dam monitoring.

According to standard EPA terminology, the active ingredients in this dye fall into the lowest toxicity category for fish, mammals, and invertebrates (practically nontoxic). Both red and green dyes will be used in distinct locations near the boat launch and the Dike over several days and are anticipated to dissipate rapidly. “
If you have any questions ore require further information, please call
Marc Brooks, NJWSA, 908-638-6121 x255.

Refurbishment and Resource Preservation Project
March 03, 2016
The New Jersey Water Supply Authority is responsible for operating and maintaining the Spruce Run and Round Valley Reservoirs for drinking water supply. As part of the Authority’s asset management program, it hired a team of internationally recognized dam experts to conduct a holistic review of the Spruce Run Reservoir and Round Valley Reservoir dams.

Based on the results and recommendations from this review, the Authority plans to make improvements that will extend the operating life of the Round Valley dams. This will also increase their durability and resilience. Design standards and construction techniques have evolved in the 50 plus years since the dams were built. Many dams of similar type to the Authority’s that were built in the same era also require periodic rehabilitation. The Authority’s plans for improvement of the dams will bring them to today’s state of the art design standards and construction techniques.

The Authority will move forward with improvements to the Round Valley dams over the next few years. A Request for Proposals for design of these improvements has been issued. Visible construction activities are anticipated to start in 2018. These improvements will allow for safe dam operation for future generations.

Additional information will be posted to our website when it becomes available.


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