July 27 Newsletter on Lake Cumberland/Wolf Creek Dam
Friends of Lake Cumberland –
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue elevation 680 at Lake Cumberland
NASHVILLE, TENN. (July 27, 2007) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, has announced plans to continue to hold the level of Lake Cumberland at elevation 680 unless project conditions worsen.
At elevation 680, Wolf Creek Dam is stable and improving. The 680 level was implemented in January and has reduced hydrostatic pressure on the dam and decreased seepage, therefore lowering the risks to people and property. The project has responded to this lake level with improved project conditions that include: improved critical indicators, slightly reduced piezometers readings, and fewer wet spots downstream.
Expedited grouting is continuing in the critical areas and should be complete by September. The Corps moved up this decision from the late Fall 07 timeframe, in order to provide stakeholders more time to make decisions about next year's recreation season and other business interests. The Corps was able to make this decision early based on the improving conditions at the dam, but Wolf Creek Dam continues to be a high risk dam with interim risk reduction measures in place and an expedited grouting program ongoing.
The reduction to 680 has impacted the project purposes of Hydropower, Water Supply, Water Quality, Recreation and Navigation, but public health and safety remain the highest priority of the Corps of Engineers. Operating Lake Cumberland at 680 feet during the construction of the Major Rehabilitation will continue to reduce risk and allow other project purposes to continue, albeit with severe impacts.
The Corps is working to establish criteria and a decision process for the future pool elevations of Lake Cumberland. This is expected to be complete by mid-September and stakeholders and the public will be informed.
In February, the Corps requested that the 11 municipal and private water supply users extend their water supply intakes to elevation 650 as a contingency planning measure.
The Corps believes this recommendation is still an appropriate measure for water supply users to take. If a distress indicator was observed at Wolf Creek Dam, then the Corps would have the ability to lower the lake level without affecting the water supply for residents and for public safety use around Lake Cumberland.
The Corps has an aggressive Dam Safety Program that includes constant monitoring of all of the dams in the Cumberland River System. The Corps, in cooperation with state and local agencies, maintains emergency notification plans to be used in the event of a failure. The Corps will keep the public informed of the conditions of at Wolf Creek Dam and the progress of rehabilitation work throughout the project with news releases and postings on the website: http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/WolfCreek/index.htm
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR ERNIE FLETCHER REGARDING THE CORPS’ ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT LAKE CUMBERLAND
“We are encouraged that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to maintain the 680-foot level at Lake Cumberland at this time. This will allow for affected entities to make plans for the remainder of this year and next, and will allow tourists to begin planning their 2008 visits to the lake.
“My administration took prudent action in response to the Corps’ Feb. 9, 2007, letter to municipalities and East Kentucky Power Company, advising them to prepare for ‘water intake with the lake at Elevation 650 feet,’ and to ensure that corrective measures are in place by December 31, 2007.
“It is important that projects to relocate water intakes and ramps continue, because the actual construction repair work for the Dam will not begin until next year. Repairs to the Dam could take up to seven years to complete, and risks associated with the project could require the Corps to consider lowering the level again.
“Approximately 203,000 people depend directly on Lake Cumberland for drinking water, sanitation and fire protection. We remain committed to ensuring an uninterrupted supply of safe, clean water for all of these people.”
Lake Cumberland – Synopsis of Action Ordered By Governor Fletcher
Immediately after the decision was announced to lower water levels at Lake Cumberland, Governor Ernie Fletcher responded to address a variety of needs including: public safety, drinking water, economic development and tourism. The following page is a synopsis of actions the governor ordered.
- The Office of Homeland Security is installing a reverse-911 system, upgrading the region’s 911 system from basic to enhanced and distributed weather radios for households and businesses near the dam.
- The Division of Emergency Management completed emergency planning for potentially affected areas, identifying roads that would be affected by a breach.
- Signed an executive order establishing a funding framework to address public safety concerns and other harmful effects caused by the lowering of lake. Communities can apply for part of the $25 million in emergency funding
- Opened an office in Somerset and appointed Hilda Legg and Van Back (tourism focus) to gather and dispense information and to be responsive to people in area.
- Water intake extensions – Spending approximately $11.5 million to extend water intake lines for five water systems.
- Ramp extensions – Spending approximately $1.5 million to extend 36 ramps.
- Tourism – Spending about $110,000 on advertising dedicated specifically to promoting the lake through TV, newspaper and radio advertising.
- Held media day. Established a website to provide accurate information. The site includes webcams, a photo gallery, periodic lake related newsletter, and other items.
- Requested emergency assistance for businesses harmed by the lowering of Lake Cumberland. It was been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA action will make low-interest disaster loans available to eligible businesses in 15 counties of the greater Lake Cumberland area
More than 4.7 million visitors spend more than 73.3 million hours a year at the lake.
2006, the lake contributed $153.4 million a year to the local tourism economy.
Corps’ WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT
Not listed for this week.
No major articles found.
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
LIVE WEBCAM ON LAKE CUMBERLAND FROM GRIDER HILL DOCK
Near the Waitsboro Recreation Area
LIVE WEBCAM ON LAKE CUMBERLAND FROM KEY REALTORS
LIVE WEBCAM ON LAKE CUMBERLAND FROM CONLEY BOTTOM
Jamestown Resort Marina, from the motel island looking ESE out to the main lake.
LIVE WEBCAM ON LAKE CUMBERLAND