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East Reservoir-Portage Lakes

Location and Description

East Reservoir is part of Portage Lakes State Park located near Akron in Summit County. It was built around 1840 as a water supply reservoir for the Ohio and Erie Canal. The 1,400-foot long dam consists of three distinct sections with a maximum crest width of 40-50 feet and impounds approximately 900 surface acres of water. It receives water flow from West Reservoir through the 1,500 foot long “Iron Channel”. As a Class I high-hazard potential structure, a sudden failure of East Reservoir Dam likely would result in the structural collapse of at least one residence or commercial/industrial business and loss of human life. (Hazard ratings refer to the consequences of dam failure; not the dam’s condition.)

Risk Reduction Construction Photos as of July 16, 2018

Risk Reduction Construction Photos as of April 20, 2018

Risk Reduction Construction Photos as of April 5, 2018

Click here for more about the Dam Risk Reduction Program.

East Reservoir Dam: Statistics

  • Maximum Embankment Height: 24.8 feet
  • Length of Dam: (3) separate sections of 200 feet, 925 feet and 275 feet = 1,400 feet total
  • Crest Width: 50 feet
  • Reservoir Surface Area At Top Of Dam: 900 acres
  • Principal Spillway Type: Ogee
  • Emergency Spillway: None
  • Principal Spillway Crest Elevation: 989.0 feet above mean sea level
  • Reservoir Surface Area at Principal Spillway Elevation: 6,896 acres
  • Lake Drains: (2) spillways; north spillway is 28-foot long concrete weir; south spillway is 21-foot long concrete weir.
  • Dam Classification: Class I
  • Lake Constructed: About 1840
  • Lake Inflow: Miller Lake, West Reservoir
  • Lake Outflow: Iron Channel
  • Counties: The site is located near Akron in Summit County at Portage Lakes State Park
  • Communities: Coventry Township, Summit County

Safety Issues

East Reservoir Dam currently has deficiencies that must be addressed to bring the dam into compliance with dam safety standards. The deficiencies include insufficient storage/discharge capacity and it cannot pass the required design storm safely. Excessive and uncontrolled seepage through and under the embankment, especially at higher lake levels, along with severe concrete deterioration on the north spillway and lake drain structure also are present.

Risk Reduction

ODNR contracted with Tetra Tech to provide investigations, preliminary design and final design alternatives. Their investigations of the dam structure in 2013 and subsequent study revealed various deficiencies that require remediation. Final design was completed in early 2017 and include risk reduction measures intended to bring the dam and its appurtenances into compliance with dam safety standards and industry best management practices. Construction began in late 2017 with completion set for 2019.

Reservoir Levels

ODNR understands the importance of recreational opportunities to the community and is planning to raise the water level incrementally during May in preparation for the 2018 summer boating season. This approach best balances the needs of the community and our commitment to public safety. In early spring, ODNR lowered the water level at East Reservoir due to heavy rains. While our commitment to minimize the impact of this project on the community remains, public safety must come first. Understanding that a dam under construction is more vulnerable, ODNR will continue to proactively manage the water levels at Portage Lakes. This process will be weather dependent and involve close observation and monitoring; the goal is to soon return lake levels to normal summer pool.

Long Term Plan

Routine inspections and maintenance of the dam will continue. An emergency action plan will be revised and shared with local emergency management officials once it is completed.

Outreach Meetings and Construction Schedules

No announcements at this time.


Additional park information may be found on the Portage Lakes State Park system web page.

Meeting Notices, Notes, and Literature

Surveys and Questionnaires

Q & A and Fact Sheets

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To request more information you may write to:

Angela Delbrocco
(614) 221-2885 ext. 18


Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Dam Risk Reduction Project
2045 Morse Road, Building E-3
Columbus, Ohio 43229

or send an email communication to