Dam gates are closed to hold back runoff - By Bill Mardis , Commonwealth Journal
Lake Cumberland is expected to rise rapidly because water releases through Wolf Creek Dam have been drastically reduced to ease flows down stream toward seriously flooded Western Kentucky. Bob Sneed, Chief of the Water Manangement Section for the United States Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District , said last week that water releases through the dam have been reduced to 540cubic feet per second (cfs) from 28,000cfs released since March 10.
Water releases also have been reduced at Dale Hollow Lake and at Center Hill Dam, an impoundment on Cumberland River near Nashville that is plagued with seepage problems comparable to Wolf Creek.
The Cumberland River winds south and west from Wolf Creek Dam through Nashville and to Berkley Lake near Paducah. The water eventually flows into the Ohio River at Smithland, a community currently bracing for record flooding. Sneed said all six generators at Wolf Creek Dam have been shut down because of continuing heavy rains. The 540 cfs being released are through two orifice gates, and water diverted to the National Fish Hatchery. Orifice gates are plates with holes beneath sluice gates that allow a small amount of water to go through. "The lake is going to go up, ...I wouldn't be surprised to see it above the 720 (feet above sea level)", said Sneed. The tree line is 723 feet. At noon Wednesday the lake was 710.05 and rising slowly. Sneed said it is very difficult to project exactly how high the lake will rise: it depends on the amount of rainfall. Bill Peoples, chief of public affairs at the Corps Nashville District, said engineers are not concerned about stability of Wolf Creek Dam when the lake is high on a temporary basis. He said the water will be released as soon as possible. Wolf Creek Dam early in 2005 was declared in high risk of failure. A $584 million rehabilitation of dam got under way in January 2007 and the Lake has been kept about 40 feet below normal since then, except during periods of excessive rainfall. Contractors have been unable to drill in a 200 foot wide section of the dam, callled Critical Area 1, near the juncture of the earthen and concrete sections. Special drilling equipment is being designed to install a permanent barrier wall in this section without disturbing the cavern laced materials in the bowels of the dam.in finding a way to make Critical Area 1 safe have pushed back the projected completion of the dam rehabilitation project until December 2013. Rehabilitation was 51 percent complete April 1.
ALL OF THIS IS REAL NICE , I THINK, FOR EVEN IF IT'S ONLY FOR A SHORT WHILE, THE LAKE IS UP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A FEW YEARS, IT FEELS NICE TO SEE IT BACK UP TO NORMAL LEVEL, I MISS LAKE CUMBERLAND BEING UP TO IT'S HIGHEST LEVEL, IT ALSO SEEMS TO ME THAT THE QUALITY OF THE WATER IS BETTER WITH THE LAKE WATER UP. iT'S ONLY MY PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT THE OPINION OF THE WRITER OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE. FOR I GOT THE ABOVE ARTICLE FROM THE WAYNE COUNTY OUTLOOK FRONTPAGE ARTICLE THIS WEEK.