Wolf Creek Dam Meeting

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

"We have a bad foundation rock. Its limestone rock beneath the dam. It’s what we like to call Karst's Geology. Over geologic time, over a long period of time as water washes over that rock, it actually destroys and erodes the rock," according to Mike Zoccola, the Chief of Civil Design Branch for the Corps.

But the Corps says they have come up with a way to fix the seepage permanently.

Supervising Civil Engineer for the Corps, Tim McCleskey says they will make it deeper, make it longer and we believe that we can control the seepage for this project for a long, long time.

The dam, which was built back in the 1930's, has had to be fixed with a concrete wall for a similar leak back in the sixties.

Zoccola says, “The first wall was successful. It has stopped the seepage where it was installed. The only problem is...I don't think it went deep enough to cut off all these openings in the rock or extended far enough laterally."

McCleskey says the engineers will use state-of-the-art equipment to patch up the 9th largest dam in the United States.

"What we plan to do is put in a diaphragm wall, this will be a wall about 3 feet thick, something of that magnitude. It will go down through the embankment portion of the dam and down into the foundation."

The price tag for the rehabilitation will be 300 million dollars, which the corps of engineers says the federal government has already green-lighted.

Work on repairing the dam will officially get underway in 2007 and would be completed within 5 to 7 years.

The corps also outlined an emergency plan if the dam were to unexpectedly to break.

The plan calls for all area Emergency Management offices as well as the National Weather Service to be alerted so they can get the word out to everyone in harm's way.


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