Commonwealth Journal

Local News

January 18, 2013

Officials excited about news that lake will be back to normal levels


Somerset —

“We’ll have to assess that ramp when the water gets up ... there may need to be some repairs,” Hale said.
Reason for the possibility of a rise in the lake level is because work in the most critical area of the dam is ahead of schedule. The permanent barrier wall being installed to stop uncontrolled seepage must be finished in this critical area near the wraparound of the earthen and concrete sections before it is safe to let the water rise.
Overall the barrier wall is about 96 percent in place. It originally was thought it would take until next December to complete the wall, but now Corps officials think it will be done by this spring.
A 20-foot rise in the lake will put it at between 700 and 705 feet above sea level, still about 20 feet short of the historical level of 723 feet, or pool stage. Don Getty, project manager, said the goal is to raise the lake to pool stage by Summer 2014.
The lake has been held about 40 feet below normal for the past seven summers because Wolf Creek Dam in 2005 was classified in “high risk” of failure. The solution was a $594 million rehabilitation of the dam that would insert a concrete barrier wall, a minimum of two feet thick, through the entire earthen section of the dam. The barrier extends about 100 feet into the limestone bedrock beneath the structure. Corps officials say this will permanently fix the dam that has been plagued by leaks since the gates were first close in December 1950.

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