The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved plans for an extensive rehabilitation to address seepage problems at the foundation of Center Hill Dam, announced U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.
\"Addressing the seepage problems at Center Hill Dam will greatly enhance safety for the Middle Tenneseans who live downstream, as well as the millions of people who visit the lake each year, said Gordon. \"While the improvements may cause a tempprary inconvenience, the end result will be a safer place for recreation and residence.\"
The Corps is planning a $240 million rehabilitation, which will involve the addition of grouting to voids where seepage is occurring in the 57 year old earthen dam. Installation of a concrete cut-off wall into the rock foundation of the dam will provide another level of defense against future seepage.
While Corps officials say there is no immediate danger of the dam failing, they are monitoring the seepage so that emergency actions could be taken to lessen the possibility of a catastrophic breach occurring.
According to the Corps, a catastrophic dam failure could result in significant damage and loss of life if water from the Caney Fork River were to flood downstream communities.
\"The approval of our Major Rehabilitation recommendation for seepage problems at Center Hill Dam and the receipt funds to begin design mark an important milestone, said Linda Adcock, dam safety program manager for the Nashville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. \"These actions show the Corps is committed to keeping Center Hill safe and functional for the future. We promise to continue close monitoring of the dam throughout the construction period and to keep the public informed through public meetings, announcements and Web site updates.\"
According to Corps officials, the design stage will be completed next year, and construction will begin in 2008.
The most recent rehabilitation to the dam occurred in 1992, when grouting was added to combat seepage.
Next month, the Corps will hold public meetings in Carthage, Cookeville, and Smithville to provide more information about the rehabilitation and to address any questions from residents. For more information on the meetings, residents should call the Corps' Public Affairs Office at 615-736-7161.