Disaster News Network Print This

Major flood risk in KY, TN

Thousands of people along the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee are potentially facing severe floods.

BY HEATHER MOYER | NASHVILLE, Tenn. | January 22, 2007

Thousands of people along the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee are potentially facing severe and sudden floods as local officials announced a nearby dam was at high risk of failing.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday lowered the water level in Lake Cumberland behind the Wolf Creek Dam in Russell County, Ky.

The Corps said in a news release that the dam is classified as "high risk" for structural failure. The water will be lowered to 680 feet immediately. Investigators said water has been seeping underneath the dam for some time now and "these changes are in concert with ongoing rehabilitation plans at Wolf Creek that address the problem of seepage through the foundation of the dam."

"Public safety is our paramount concern," said Lt. Col. Steven J. Roemhildt, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. "A high level of risk does exist. Reducing lake levels lowers pressure on the dam and pumping grout into the ground lessens erosion, both of which immediately reduce risk."

If the dam fails it would flood communities downstream along the Cumberland River, including the Kentucky town of Burkesville and the Tennessee communities of Nashville, Clarksville, Gallatin, and Hendersonville. Grouting the dam has already been underway. Officials urged the public to have evacuation plans even though a dam break was not imminent.

The dam was built in the 1950s. The water levels had been lowered for some time due to the discovered seepage. The normal water levels behind the dam are 723 feet in the summer and 690 feet in the winter. The Corps said the 680-foot level will be maintained for the rest of 2007.

The statement also said that the Nashville District of the Corps will soon hold public meetings about the dam's risks, emergency plans and mitigation efforts. Also, according to the release, the Corps has an aggressive dam safety monitoring program and maintains emergency notification plans for each of the dams in its system should one fail.

Related Topics:

CT awards Brownfields grants

DQ hit by Backoff malware breach

Yahoo! latest target of hackers

More links on Technological Disasters


Related Links:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Wolf Creek Dam Project

Find this article at:



DNN Sponsors include: