Post by Brian Roebuck on Feb 21, 2007 18:07:39 GMT -5
It is too bad the 1930's engineering of this project turned out to be less than great. Filling karst with soils and clays may get you leak free for a while but sooner or later the limestone will be disolving and the plugs will get looser. Leaks will develope and problems will get bigger. It was a solution for the day during a depression era where hiring workers to create cheap energy was a great near term solution but now it seems we all will pay a big price for it not being done right the first time.
And I thought most things today are only concerned with short term gain? I guess they figured it out well way back in the thirties.
Brian Roebuck NSS 34626 RL (FE) ----- Caving is far too serious to be taken seriously.
Wolf Creek Dam might be fixed in five years Support in Congress may speed funding
SOMERSET, Ky. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to shave two years off its repair job at the leaky Wolf Creek Dam in Southern Kentucky.
The work could be done in 2012, if not sooner, because of strong support from members of Congress that could speed federal funding, said engineer Mike Zoccola, chief of the corps' Nashville District civil design branch.
The current timeline calls for a 300-foot-tall concrete wall, nearly a mile long, to be built inside the earthen portion of the dam by 2014.
He also said he is optimistic that engineers have the right plan in place to seal leaks in the dam's cavern-riddled limestone foundation.
Post by Tony Anders on Feb 24, 2007 18:11:33 GMT -5
Clearing the air
Citizens seem satisfied with Corps' answers on lake By BILL MARDIS, Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Somerset — Most local people seemed satisfied with responses from a Corps of Engineers’ panel during a community forum Thursday night about the instability of Wolf Creek Dam.
The 800 theater seats at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset were about half full for the first meeting in Kentucky with the Corps since Lake Cumberland has been lowered to 43 feet below the tree line for the remainder of this year. Previous community meetings have been held downstream from Wolf Creek Dam, classified as a “high risk” for failure.
Wolf Creek Dam flood maps for Montgomery and Cheatham counties are available online
Maps that show the potential flooding in Montgomery and Cheatham counties if Wolf Creek Dam should fail have been posted online by Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, officials there said.
There are plans to post flood maps for Robertson, Houston and Stewart counties later.
The data is available on the school's Geographic Information Systems Center's Web site as part of a project done in conjunction with Tennessee Homeland Security District 7 and Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency.
The information, which is filling something of a void, is proving popular.
The Web site has been getting about 1,300 visitors a day, according to Mike Wilson, manager of the GIS Center.
Post by Tony Anders on Mar 1, 2007 19:15:25 GMT -5
Corps offers more Wolf Creek Dam information at Somerset meeting
A crew with Tarter Construction Company arrived at Grider Hill Dock Monday morning to begin work on extending the main launch ramp at the dock on Lake Cumberland. Lower than normal water levels, brought on by repairs being made to a leaking Wolf Creek Dam, had rendered the ramp unusable. Plans are to have the extension work at the ramp completed in 30 days.
In Thursday, Mar. 1, 2007 issue Courtesy lakecumberland.com
“Nothing has changed at Wolf Creek Dam. What has changed is how the Corps of Engineers manages risk.” With that statement, the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Lt. Col. Steven J. Roemhildt, explained the dramatic lowering of Lake Cumberland to a crowd of several hundred at a public meeting Thursday in Somerset.
The colonel was speaking in a meeting at the Center for Rural Development held to explain issues to the public, and to answer questions posed by those who attended.
It is the reality of public works in the post-Katrina world. The government is attempting to make certain that no devastating disasters develop from any Corps-managed project.
Those should be comforting words for those living in the flood plain downstream of the leaking dam.
“While we understand the profound impact on local systems and the local economy,” explained Roemhildt, “public safety is and always will be our highest concern.’
Mike Zoccola, head of the project and a registered safety engineer with 31 years of experience, noted the dam is being closely monitored.
“It is not as safe as it should be,” he told the crowd, but said the lowering of the lake has already been beneficial. He said they have been “seeing favorable results on indicators” since the water level has been reduced.
The lower level means less hydraulic pressure of water through the seepage points in underground caverns that lace the porous bedrock under the mile-long structure.
Work is underway on a multi-year project to place a new concrete “diaphragm” wall inside the long earth-fill portion of the dam that will go much deeper than a previous, shorter wall that was installed in the 1970’s to correct an earlier seepage problem caused by the same cavernous bedrock.
Originally scheduled for seven years, efforts have been speeded up to complete the rehabilitation project in five years. Zoccola stated, “We’re very confident it will be complete before 2014.”
A number of new “piezometers” have been installed throughout the dam to watch over seepage effects, and Zoccola noted that the staff at the dam have been trained and are “constantly on alert.”
“We have somebody walking the dam 24 hours a day, with a checklist,” he added.
Zoccola noted that the current plans to hold the lake’s level at 680 feet above sea level were chosen “solely based on municipal water intake.” He said that below that level it would affect water system quality, the ability for communities to fight fires, and for sanitation.
Cities and water system operators drawing from Lake Cumberland have been warned to extend their intakes so they can draw from much lower levels of the lake, and to have them in place by December of this year.
The gathered officials also explained their understanding of the economic impact of the lowered lake, and said they were expediting anything that would enable the public to continue recreation on the huge body of water.
Major arrangements are being made with the lake’s marinas and private docks, and work is being escalated to extend boat launching ramps so they can reach the lowered levels.
It was noted the ramps are being extended as soon as possible in a single lane so that they “get to water” then some, but not all, may be doubled in width.
Mike Ensch, the Corps Project Manager for Lake Cumberland, said that $350,000 has been appropriated to extend boat ramps and the marinas and Corps-operated recreation areas.
He noted that the Corps is considering “renegotiating the rent” on marina concessions, and they are considering extending the recreation season, and might reduce recreation fees if doing so doesn’t hurt private businesses.
A number of persons took advantage of the open mikes and attending officials to ask questions about their concerns. Being an “upstream” meeting, most were about effects to water supplies, ramps and business issues, rather than the concern over possible flooding below the dam.
Robert Williams, of Equity Group Kentucky Division, LLC, a chicken processing plant located in central Clinton County, noted that their company uses a huge amount of water from the lake, and was concerned about a lack of water required for operation of their poultry business.
He requested that they be notified in advance of any drop in the lake that could cause water service to be slowed or stopped.
Lt. Col. Roemhildt noted that the level of the lake was expected to be held at close to 680 for the remainder of this year, but it will be up to the success of the current grouting process, which is attempting to slow the seepage through the dam while preparations are underway for the construction of the new diaphragm wall.
“If the grout works, especially in certain critical areas, we made hold the level at 680,” he noted. A decision would be made by the end of this year after an evaluation on the work.
“We may hold it at 680, we may take it lower, we may take it back up.”
He said that the decision would be made by a number of people involved in the process, and noted that he could not say if the lower levels will remain in place for some time.
“I can’t say where it will be two years from now. It may possibly last through the construction period.”
The United States Army Corps of Engineers has announced that several public meetings have been scheduled in regards to the situation surrounding a leaking Wolf Creek Dam, and the recent announcement of planned lower levels of Lake Cumberland.
Among the seven meetings planned in the series, the closest will be held in Burkesville on Thursday, March 15. That meeting will be held at the Cumberland County High School Gymnasium (912 North Main Street).
Two additional public meetings have also been announced in nearby communities, one in Russell Springs on Thursday, March 8, at the Russell County High School (2166 South U.S. 127) and another in Celina, Tennessee on March 22, at the Clay County High School (1102 Clay County Highway).
All three meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. (CST) and will last until 8:00 p.m. Inundation maps will be made available to the public at each of the meeings, starting at 5:00 p.m. in Burkesville, 3:00 p.m. in Russell Springs and 4:30 p.m. in Celina.
According to a press release issued to the Clinton County News last week, officials will try to answer the questions of residents concerning the recent announcement to lower the lake level at Wolf Creek Dam, in Russell County, Ky., to 680 feet (above sea level), in response to independent studies that have classified the dam as being high risk.
For more information, contact the Public Affairs Office, Nashville District, Corps of Engineers, at (615) 736-7161.
Persons who have an accommodation request or special need (e.g., sign language interpreter), should submit a request for accommodation in writing to Bill Peoples, chief, Public Affairs Office, P.O. Box 1070, Nashville, Tenn., 37202 or by calling Dave Claussen at (615) 736-7841. Two weeks advance notice is encouraged.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act, the Corps of Engineers will make a reasonable effort to provide effective accommodations for all participants.
BURKESVILLE, Ky. — Below the Wolf Creek Dam, which holds back the biggest manmade lake east of the Mississippi, residents joke that they are not worried about a breach but sleep in life jackets, just in case.
Above the dam, they jest that since the Army Corps of Engineers labeled the structure “high risk” in January and lowered the water in Lake Cumberland to 40 feet below its summer level, residents now have some of the best “mud front” property in the country.
A nervous sense of humor has taken hold in this area, famed for its trout fishing and million-dollar houseboats, as worries grow about the dam, a mile-long concrete and earthen behemoth that is leaking and showing signs of age.
News Release Flood Inundation Maps Available In 28 Public Libraries
NASHVILLE, TENN. (March1, 2007) – Inundation Maps of areas potentially impacted by waters from Wolf Creek Dam were placed in two more Tennessee Public Libraries to bring the total to 28 locations where maps may be viewed by the public. Maps are now available in the Old Hickory Public Library and the Macon County Public Library.
The mapping was developed to provide a priority planning tool for local Emergency Managers in the unlikely event of a failure at Wolf Creek Dam, Russell County, Ky. The maps show estimates of flooded areas based on a range of failure scenarios. These maps show consequences of failure, not probability of failure.
These inundations maps include sensitive information that could be used by those who want to harm the public. Under normal circumstances, the Corps does not release inundation maps.
In the special circumstances of Wolf Creek Dam, however, the public's need for knowledge and understanding of the situation partly outweighs the need for security.
Public safety is paramount while the Corps of Engineers is implementing a range of operational measures at Wolf Creek Dam to reduce the likelihood of failure and resulting flooding downstream. Repair work began this year in January and will continue perhaps for the next seven years.
Newly released documents show Wolf Creek Dam passed two major inspections in the 1990's before showing signs of strain.
Repairs are now underway on the dam which holds back Lake Cumberland.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it started spotting problems in 2004. Several wet areas formed on the earthen portion of the dam. They also found leaking inside the concrete part and cracks in the road that runs on top of the dam.
Lake Cumberland has since been lowered so repairs can be made.
If the level hits 650, I'm there! I always go to Sloan's in the winter because of the low lake level. I've been there at levels from 690-710. At 690, you can pretty much stay dry in all the mapped passages, 700 - you're knee/chest deep in some water, and at 710 - you're swimming (or going out the same way you came in). At least that's my experience in the big room and lake rooms. At 650, you'll have a chance of mapping your own passages. Sweet!
Officials: No danger from dam News media are shown workings at Wolf Creek, how repairs being done By Bill Estep Lexington Herald Leader
Craig Shoe, right, in white hard hat, resource manager for Lake Cumberland, spoke with members of the news media on a houseboat in front of Wolf Creek Dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is repairing leaks in the structure, gave a tour to show that the public has nothing to worry about. Charles Bertram/Staff
WOLF CREEK DAM - The decision to keep water lower than usual in Lake Cumberland this summer because of leaks in the dam that impounds the giant reservoir has spawned a number of myths, according to federal officials.
Among the misconceptions:
• Dye tests have shown the leaks are much worse than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have said.
• Blasting for a construction project near the dam has weakened the structure.
• The corps is hiding something.
Nonsense, corps officials said yesterday, albeit in a nice way.
To prove the corps is being straightforward about the leaks and repairs at the dam, agency officials invited news media for a tour yesterday. It included construction areas, the powerhouse and even a tunnel deep inside the dam, where workers use diamond-studded drill bits to bore into the rock under the towering concrete structure, then pump in liquid cement to stop leaks.
"We have nothing to hide," said Lt. Col. Steven J. Roemhildt, commander of the corps' Nashville District, which includes Lake Cumberland.
Costs to electric ratepayers of lowering water at problem dams could be $100 million a year
By ANNE PAINE Staff Writer
The costs to ratepayers of lower water levels behind Wolf Creek and Center Hill dams could be in the range of $100 million as Sen. Lamar Alexander said earlier, an engineer with the Southeastern Power Administration confirmed today.
“That’s probably a good estimate,” said Douglas Spencer, a hydraulic engineer with SEPA in Elberton, GA.
SEPA oversees the sales of power from Corps dams, including the seeping Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky, which is on the Cumberland River upriver of Nashville.
“We’ve got less power to generate because we have less water. We haven’t gone through any kind of studies as far as total impacts.”
TVA and others that buy the power made at water running through turbines at the Corps dams will have to buy it elsewhere at market prices, which are higher.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a layered concrete structure that would, in effect, replace the 4000-foot-long earthen section of troubled Wolf Creek Dam and be an alternative to a planned diaphragm wall.
Mike Zoccola, chief of the Corps’ Civil Design Branch, said the structure being studied is a “roller-compacted concrete dam” that would tie in to the existing concrete section of dam. It would be built instead of a four-to-five-foot thick concrete wall that would extend through the earthen section to about 100 feet into the bedrock.
Zoccola emphasized at all points in his discussion that the new method to permanently repair Wolf Creek Dam is still being studied. The nearly mile-long concrete and earthen dam that impounds Lake Cumberland has been classified as a “high risk” for failure and the lake level is being kept low to ease pressure on the unstable structure.
A roller-compacted dam would be constructed with layers of concrete, each compacted with heavy equipment. Zoccola said the concrete would be a “really dry mix” unlike the more familiar soupy concrete that wouldn’t support compaction.
Noting that roller-compacted dams are not uncommon, Zoccola estimated that the structure under study would be about the same length as the existing earthen section of the dam and some 15-20 feet in width. It would be located on the downstream side of the existing earthen part of the dam and would impact the road leading to Kendall Recreation Area, the power grid and fish hatchery.
How deep a roller-compacted dam would extend into the earth, how much it would cost and how long it would take are still questions, Zoccola noted. Also still undetermined is whether construction of that type facility would require further lowering of the lake level. Grouting and the diaphragm wall in the current plan have a price tag of $309.1million and would take up to seven years.
Zoccola said the earthen section of the dam likely would remain in place as the base for U.S. 127, the road that crosses the crest of the dam. The existing concrete section of the dam would not be affected, he indicated.
The idea for a roller-compacted structure at Wolf Creek Dam “recently came up,” Zoccola said. “There are a lot of technical problems,” he added. The Corps earlier rejected a suggestion to build a completely new dam at a cost of $500 million.
According to the current timetable, the Corps plans to award a contract late this year to permanently repair the dam. Zoccola said a decision on whether the permanent fix be a diaphragm wall or a roller-compacted structure needs to be made sometime about June. The roller-compacted structure is a “Corps idea” and not something suggested by Washington, D.C., he said.
Excessive seepage was observed at Wolf Creek Dam between 2002 and 2004 when the lake level was high due to heavy rainfall. The Corps began to control the lake level in March 2005 and announced in August of that year that a major rehabilitation of the dam is necessary.
Later, the massive dam structure that impounds 101-mile-long Lake Cumberland was declared in high risk of failure. As a result, the lake level was lowered to 680 feet above sea level, or about 43 feet below the tree line, to ease pressure on the dam.
An accelerated grouting contract was awarded last December and liquid concrete currently is being pumped into the dam to control seepage.
Roller compacted concrete is the "soup de jour" of the engineering world, it seems. AmerenUE is proposing RCC to replace the failed Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir here. Of course, this will be a RCC bathtub on top of a mountain, not a dam across a river.
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Mar 20, 2007 10:20:40 GMT -5
I wonder if they plan to remove more crayfish. I applaud the efforts, just wondering if they plan to keep the crayfish at UK for seven years and then release them back in the cave as water levels rise again?
Hindsight being 20/20 and all that, it seems like we would have been better off to have protected the original ecosystem of the cave when the dam was first built. Maybe we didn't have the knowledge and technology available then.
Last Edit: Mar 21, 2007 10:09:32 GMT -5 by Azurerana