Trousdale residents urged to plan ahead
Trousdale County officials and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hosted a public meeting in Hartsville on Thursday, January 10 to update the public on repair work being done to Center Hill Dam.
The Corps has released the results of an independent peer review study that listed Center Hill Dam as first on a list of high-risk, high-priority dams nationwide.
Center Hill Dam, located on the Caney Fork River in Smithville, generates $40 million in hydro power each year and prevents another $20 million annually in flood damage. But the dam is suffering from erosion of the limestone, or karst, from which the dam is constructed, according to Mike Zoccola, chief of the Corps Design and Geotechnical Branch.
Corps officials have taken immediate steps to minimize the risk of dam failure by adhering to lake restriction levels and prioritizing critical areas of the dam to begin the process of grouting, which involves drilling holes into the rocks and pouring a mixture of concrete and water into the holes that will seep into the crevasses.
The Corps has also taken steps to help prepare citizens in the event of a dam failure, including:
*Coordinating an emergency notification plan with state and local emergency management agencies
* Updating inundation maps and providing them to state and local emergency management agencies
* Notification of dam failure via the Emergency Broadcasting System
* Conducting emergency exercises
* Training staff in dam safety procedures
* Increased monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week with additional instrumentation as well as monthly inspections.
The Corps has also undertaken a three-phase long term rehabilitation project that will cost $263 million and is scheduled for completion in 2013. Phases of that plan include:
* grouting the main dam's extreme ends and the left embankment and building a vertical cut-off wall that will extend downward to solid rock (2007-2010);
* grouting the main concrete dam, an adjacent saddle dam and the dam's right embankment (2009-2011); and
* grouting the main saddle dam and embankments.
What can you do?
A Public Affairs Specialist for the Corps urged citizens to take steps to prepare for a disaster before it happens. Some steps each household can take include:
1) Purchase a weather-band radio.
2) Have an evacuation plan.
3) Have a contact person outside the flood area.
4) Stay informed. If you were unable to attend last week