The leaking Wolf Creek Dam passed major inspections in 1994 and 1999 before showing serious signs of strain in 2004.
Newly released documents from the U-S Army Corps of Engineers spell out the problems spotted in 2004, including expanded wet areas on the backside of the 4,000-foot earthen portion of the dam, which holds back Lake Cumberland, The Courier-Journal reported.
Other trouble signs included: High water-pressure readings in soil monitors. Excessive settling in a critical area atop the dam. Soft zones in the rock under the dam. Leaking inside the dam's concrete portion at a rate of up to 30 gallons a minute. Cracking in the pavement of U.S. 127, which runs atop the dam.
No major problems were cited in the 1994 inspection report, which concluded that, "overall, the entire project is in good condition." By 1999, inspectors identified some expanding leaks and called for a crack survey but cited "no deficiencies that immediately affect the safety or continuing operational adequacy of the project."