State orders impoundments drained and repairs at three high hazard dams

Raleigh

RALEIGH – State officials have issued dam safety orders requiring the owners of three high hazard dams to lower water levels in the impoundments and submit plans for repairing or breaching the dams within 91 days.

The N.C. Department of Natural Resources issued the dam safety orders this week due to deficiencies in the dam structures at the following impoundments:

· Osceola Lake in Henderson County, co-owned by CARAP, LLC; T&A Carolina Corporation and the N.C. Department of Transportation;

· Woodlake development in Moore County, owned by Woodlake Partners, LLC;

· Capps Pond in Buncombe County, owned by Ambers H. Capps, Jr.

Structural problems cited by the agency include cracks in concrete components of the dams, spillways in need of maintenance or repair, trees and excess vegetation on embankments and voids caused by soil erosion.

All three dams are classified as high hazard by the state Dam Safety Program. A dam is classified as high hazard if failure of the dam could potentially cause loss of human life, damage to major roads, or more than $200,000 in economic damage.

“We have concerns for public safety downstream of these dams,” said Tracy Davis, director of the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, or DEMLR. “The dam owners have been directed to draw down the water level behind the dams, which will reduce the potential for failure until the dams are either repaired or breached.”

The water level at Woodlake must be drawn down a minimum of three feet, while the Osceola and Capps impoundments must be drained completely.

In addition to draining the impoundment, the Capps dam safety order requires the owners to submit an application, including plans and a timeline for repairs, within 91 days. DEMLR is awaiting an encroachment agreement between the state Department of Transportation and the other owners of the dam before the plans for the Osceola Lake dam can be approved. The owners of the Osceola Lake dam also have the option of submitting a new plan. Owners of the Woodlake impoundment previously submitted plans that were not approved. The owners of Woodlake have 91 days to submit revisions to those plans. Owners of all three impoundments have the option of submitting an application to breach the dams instead of making the required repairs.

Failure to comply with terms of the dam safety orders can result in civil penalties of up to $500 per day and/or a request to the state Attorney General’s Office for injunctive relief.

Copies of the dam safety orders can be viewed online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/lr/dam-safety-orders .

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