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North Reservoir-Portage Lakes

Location and Description

North Reservoir is part of Portage Lakes State Park located near Akron in Summit County. The present dam was completed in 1909 as the New Reservoir Dam and comprised of two earthen embankments of nearly equal length that are separated by several hundred feet of natural ground. The combined length of the dam is 650 feet, which impounds approximately 166 surface acres of water to an average depth of 11 feet. The spillway and outlet pipe discharges lake water into a stilling basin and outflow channel connecting to Long Lake. As a Class I high-hazard potential structure, a sudden failure of North 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.) The last known dam remediation project occurred in 1982 with completion of improvements to the spillway.

Click the Status tab above for construction photos and updates.

Download Public Briefing Presentation 7/9/2019 [5.6 Mb pdf]

Click here for more about the Dam Risk Reduction Program.

dam deterioration

dam deterioration

dam spillway deterioration

North Reservoir: Statistics

  • Maximum Embankment Height: 12.7 feet
  • Length of Dam: 650 feet (two sections)
  • Crest Width: 10 feet
  • Reservoir Surface Area At Top Of Dam: 202 acres
  • Storage Capacity at Principal Spillway Elevation: 582 acre-feet = 163 million gallons
  • Principal Spillway Type: 24-foot long, 2.5 feet wide concrete weir
  • Emergency Spillway: None
  • Principal Spillway Crest Elevation: 974.83 feet above average mean sea level
  • Lake Drains: 30-inch diameter pipe with sluice gate at weir; 12-inch diameter pipe with sluice gate in North Reservoir
  • Dam Classification: Class I
  • Lake Constructed: About 1909
  • Total Drainage Area To Lake: 1.34 square miles
  • Lake Inflow: Local area of 10.82 sq. mi. and outflow from West Reservoir
  • Lake Outflow: Through outlet channel to Long Lake
  • Counties: The site is located in near Akron in Summit County at Portage Lakes State Park
  • Communities: Coventry Township, Portage Lakes

Safety Issues

North 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 seepage through and under the embankment, along with severe concrete deterioration on the north spillway and lake drain structure also are present.

Risk Reduction

ODNR is contracted with Tetra Tech to provide investigations, and preliminary and final design alternatives. Their investigations of the dam structure (2013) revealed various deficiencies that require remediation. Final design will include risk reduction measures intended to bring the dam and its appurtenances into compliance with dam safety standards and industry best management practices.

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.


Tetra Tech is contracted to ODNR to provide preliminary and final designs, Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) and operation, maintenance and inspection (OMI) guidelines for the North Reservoir dam and spillway system in Portage Lakes State Park. Soil borings and property surveys have been completed along and near the North Reservoir embankment. ODNR is working to obtain the necessary permits required for construction. Preliminary information regarding proposed dam and spillway system improvements has been shared publicly and with key stakeholders to inform the design process. Final design is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 with construction start expected in 2019.

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


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