Wolf Creek Dam Update Meeting

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Concern continues to grow over whether Wolf Creek Dam will one day collapse.

The dam has had minor leaks for a couple of years now and some experts project the dam to break within a few years, leaving most of South East Kentucky and Tennessee underwater.

Members of the U.S. Corps of Engineers met with concerned citizens in Hendersonville, Tenn., Monday night, Feb. 12, 2006, as part of a tour to make more people aware of the cave's state.

Members of the U.S. Corps of Engineers said they are doing everything they can to stop leakage in the Wolf Creek Dam.

"Starting this year, we began grouting at the dam to cut off seepage in the foundation," said Tim McCloskey of the Corps of Engineers.

McCloskey also said in an effort to better protect the dam they have lessened its load two different times.

"We have lowered the pool at the dam on two occasions from its normal operation procedure," said McCloskey.

He also said the engineers dropped the amount of water in the dam 23 feet then dropped it another 20 feet earlier this year.

"The purpose of lowering the pool at the dam was to take some of the pressure off of the foundation of the dam. We believe that will enhance the safety and the integrity of the dam," said McCloskey.

McCloskey said one hurdle that will have to be cleared in order to fix the dam are the large amounts of limestone growing on the foundation. The soluble rock over the years turned into caves of all sizes around the dam.

"These solution features, or caves, present a significant challenge as far as controlling seepage in the foundation of the dam," he continued.

The engineers believe that the grouting work they're doing should help to prevent any more seepage issues in these caves. McCloskey said they are also accelerating the time-frames on their current contracts in order to speed up repairs. He said the group has given at least 14 presentations to concerned citizens throughout Tennessee and Kentucky over the last year.

McCloskey also noted as they learn more about the cave and its issues they update their message. He also said there is a high risk that the dam will break if there's no work done now.

To view the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brochure on the Wolf Creek Dam click here.

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