Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 12, 2013

Meetings begin to discuss stability of Wolf Creek Dam

Somerset —  

Officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a series of meetings Tuesday afternoon during which the integrity of recently inserted permanent barrier wall in Wolf Creek Dam will be determined as well as performance of the mile-long structure that impounds Lake Cumberland.
  Don Getty, manager of the $594 million Wolf Creek Dam Rehabilitation Project, said two things will be discussed during the meetings: (1) Quality of the barrier wall to assure it was built to specifications, and (2) performance of the dam based on information from 350 monitoring instruments inside the dam. The 4,000 foot barrier wall through the earthen section of the dam was completed last Wednesday when the last pile was poured.
  End result of the meetings is expected to be a green light from Brigadier General Margaret W. Burcham, commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, to allow the lake to rise 20 feet by June, beginning of the 2013 tourism season.
  “April 1 is the target date for allowing the lake level to begin rising,” said Getty. He noted, however, this date could vary a few days.  Also, sufficient rainfall is necessary to bring up the water level.
 A reporter wondered if it is determined the barrier wall is properly installed, and if pressure-reading and material-movement instruments inside the dam indicate integrity, is there a chance the lake would be allowed to rise to historical operating levels (723 feet above sea level) this year?
  “I don’t think so,” said Getty. The 20-foot rise this summer will raise the lake from its current target of 680 feet above sea level to between 700 and 705 feet. He said it is more likely the lake will remain just over 700 feet this summer and the green light to raise the level to normal pool stage will be given in December for the 2014 vacation season.

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