Currently, three issues are relevant:
Fixing The Dam
The Corps of Engineers, Nashville District has an approved plan to address serious seepage at Center Hill Dam and has obtained Federal funds for design and construction of a long term fix. Construction began in 2008 and is scheduled to be completed by 2014. Four large construction contracts are planned. The first contract was recently awarded to address the most critical parts of the dam affected by seepage, the earthen embankment of the main dam and the left rim (to the southwest of the dam). Throughout construction we will continue to closely monitor the dam.
- Lake Levels throughout Construction
The seepage problems are made worse during continual high lake levels; therefore, maintaining lower lake elevations is necessary until we get a permanent remedy in place.
Since March of 2005, we have attempted to keep fall, winter and early spring lake levels from extreme rises. We have also attempted to operate the lake on the low end of our normal annual operating band. During construction, however, the Corps plans to target Center Hill Lake levels between elevation 630 feet above mean sea level (msl) in the summer and no lower than elevation 618 msl during the late fall and early winter.
These elevations are approximately five to ten feet lower than recent pool operating levels, and as much as eighteen feet lower than normal operating levels. During the five year repair period, this interim pool operation will be periodically re-evaluated to determine if Center Hill Lake can be safely raised, maintained, or if further lowering is necessary to ensure safety.
The chosen levels are the result of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) developed over the past year. The EIS evaluated potential impacts caused by each of nine lake level alternatives.
The process included consideration of safety concerns, potential impact to project purposes, and the views of the State of Tennessee, other federal agencies, affected stakeholders, and the public. The goal of the EIS was to identify an alternative that balanced the safety of the downstream human and natural environment against the reduction of project benefits from water supply, water quality, recreation, navigation, and hydropower.
Emergency Action and Information
Although not anticipated, there are events that could cause the Corps to lower the lake as an emergency action. Your County Emergency Managers have maps of areas which could flood if Center Hill Dam were to fail. The Corps has an aggressive Dam Safety program to constantly monitor all of our dams in the Cumberland River system and Center Hill is being monitored constantly. Lower lake levels have slowed the seepage progression. The Corps will use news articles, websites, and public meetings to keep the public informed of the dam’s condition and of progress of the foundation remedy throughout construction.
Accurate and timely information is critical to the effective resolution of many issues associated with Corps of Engineers projects. This web site has been established to provide information you need to stay informed. The site will be updated, based on the needs of our site visitors. Please let us know what you need. Please share this site with others interested in this project.