Burnside officials have been told by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the city’s water intake system in the event the water level on Lake Cumberland is lowered another 30 feet.

“They wanted us to put together a plan of action in case they needed to lower the lake level to 650 feet above sea level,” said Mayor Chuck Fourman.

According to information he received in a letter from the Corps of Engineers a few weeks ago, Fourman said there are no immediate plans to lower the lake beyond the recommended 680 feet while repair work is under way at Wolf Creek Dam.

Craig Shoe, resource manager for Lake Cumberland, said all water suppliers were notified as a precautionary measure to prepare to draw from a possible elevation of 650 feet if circumstances should change in the next few months.

Shoe said the effectiveness of the grouting work is scheduled to be re-elevated in September or October. At that time, he said, the Corps will decide whether to raise the pool, leave the lake level at 680 feet or draw it down to 650 feet. As of Tuesday, March 6, the lake level was at 687.86 feet, due to recent heavy rains.

An accelerated grouting program has been put in place in an attempt to stop seepage through and beneath the earthen section of the dam and below the concrete portion of the structure. The Corps has announced it will keep the lake level at 680 feet, 43 feet below the tree line, at least through the next few months to ease pressure on the ailing dam. The $309 million rehabilitation project is expected to take seven years to complete.

In the meantime, efforts are being made to relocate boat docks, extend boat launching facilities and get water suppliers in the Lake Cumberland region ready for a possible draw down to 650 feet. The dam has been classified as a “high risk” for failure.

“They see no reason they are going to have to do that at this time,” Fourman said, referring to information he has received from the Corps of Engineers on possible lower lake level.

Burnside’s water intake line is submerged at 660 feet, 20 feet below the recommended 680 feet level, in the Cumberland River. Fourman said he recently sent a driver down to pinpoint the exact location of the intake line only to discover it was not in the old river bed as originally thought by city officials.

The city is considering a floating intake structure that would pump water from Lake Cumberland to the plant on East Lakeshore Drive. This particular piece of equipment is in use at several water treatment plants, including a plant in nearby Monticello. Burnside Municipal Water Plant serves approximately 700 users in the city and Antioch Shores.

Fourman has been in contact with representatives from GOLD (Governor’s Office of Local Development) to put together a funding package.

“At this time, we don’t have a set dollar amount. We will know more in the next few weeks,” Fourman said.

The project is expected to move quickly once funding has been secured. The timeframe for completion is within the next nine months.

This Week's Circulars