As a follow up to the Technical Paper published by Nashville District on March 28, 2016, the following recommendations are made for the blast testing and monitoring of Old Hickory Dam and Old Hickory Recreation area.

Monitoring and Test Blasting Recommendations for Old Hickory Lock & Dam due to Proposed Quarry Operations

Technical Paper

This technical paper contains preliminary analysis of potential vibration Impact to Old Hickory Lock & Dam from proposed quarry operations.

USACE Nashville District Old Hickory Dam Quarry Evaluation Technical Paper

Brig. Gen. Richard Kaiser

Brig. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser addresses dam safety at Old Hickory Dam March 29, 2016.

Michael Zoccola, P.E.

Dam safety officer talks about possibility of quarry fly rock March 29, 2016.

Old Hickory Rock Quarry Information

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created this page for public awareness regarding the proposed rock quarry on private property adjacent to federal property managed by the Nashville District at Old Hickory Lake and Dam in Old Hickory, Tenn. 

Corps of Engineers Articles

Brig. Gen. Richard G. KaiserCorps general discusses dam safety issues at Old Hickory Lake with Nashville leaders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 29, 2016) – During a visit to Nashville and Old Hickory Dam today, Brig. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser, commanding general of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division and regional Corps authority on Old Hickory Dam safety issues, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee 5th District congressman, and members of their staffs met to discuss safety concerns local leaders have regarding the operation of a quarry adjacent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Old Hickory Dam.

Brig. Gen. Richard G. KaiserCommentary: Dam safety at Old Hickory Dam is Corps' priority

By Brig. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commanding general

CINCINNATI (March 28, 2016) - Dam safety is a crucial mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and in particular, the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division -- the Division I currently command.  I have heard the concerns from the public about the proposed quarry on non-federal property adjacent to Old Hickory Dam.  I want to assure everyone that my Corps dam safety professionals have thoroughly evaluated the quarry's proposal to ensure that Old Hickory Dam will not be harmed.  I am neither for, nor against the quarry -- I am only for the safety of Old Hickory and the safety of the public affected by Old Hickory.

Lt. Col. Stephen F. MurphyCommentary: Corps of Engineers takes Old Hickory dam safety seriously

By Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 7, 2015) -- A limestone rock quarry has been proposed on private land adjacent to Old Hickory Lock and Dam, which is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District.

Questions & Answers

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Corps regulatory and legal experts did investigate the use of Section 408 for the Old Hickory Quarry issue and determined that it was not applicable in this case.  We did not include it in our technical assessment because it was not applicable.
Corps of Engineers analysis shows that blasting can be done safely adjacent to Old Hickory Dam as long as the quarry meets recognized and site-developed thresholds. Corps projects do use blasting operations as part of our construction.  For instance, we have safely used blasting at Kentucky Lock where the Corps is constructing a new lock chamber.
The Corps of Engineers empathizes with the surrounding residents; however, the Corps is responsible for the project and its safety. The Corps of Engineers is an adjacent property owner of the quarry.  If a quarry is operated on adjacent property, the Corps will work with the operators to ensure minimal impacts to the employees and visitors to Old Hickory Lock and Dam.
The karst geology under Old Hickory Dam is not nearly as severe as Wolf Creek or Center Hill dams.  The blasting should not affect the rock at the distances between the quarry and the dam.
The time is not a factor as long as the blasting thresholds are adhered to by quarry operators.  The proposed quarry blasting plan and frequency of blasting is not a major concern.

The Corps of Engineers was originally concerned about fly rock and the air blast vibrations and noise of the proposed quarry operations.  The quarry will have to meet state standards for these as well as MSHA standards that are intended to protect on-site workers as well as surrounding property.  According to the proposed quarry blast plans, only one or two blasts are planned a week.

If there was a failure of the embankment at Old Hickory the failure mode would not cause a wall of water as described nor cause flooding as described.

No.  The dam embankment has never failed.  There was a failure along the stream bank on the Cumberland River below the dam in 1956. This is a photo of that incident.

Stream Bank failure below Old Hickory Dam in 1956

The safety of the public around Corps projects is always a top priority.  Preliminary analysis of Corps dam safety experts have concluded that level of basting at the proposed quarry is not a dam safety issue for Old Hickory Dam. 
Corps of Engineers regulatory experts have reviewed the proposed quarry area and have not found any jurisdictional, Waters of the U.S., or environmental issues over which the Corps of Engineers has regulatory authority.
Old Hickory Dam is not structurally compromised or a high risk dam. The Corps of Engineers closely monitors the dam and it is safe. 
The Corps of Engineers does provide information to FEMA in order for them to produce flood plain maps.  These maps are produced by FEMA not the Corps.  The Corps does not have authority to release them.  FEMA would need to be contacted about the release of FEMA food plain maps.
The Corps of Engineers has no authority other than Waters of the US (WOTUS) on non-Corps property.  At this time there are no WOTUS (regulatory) issues or other issues covered by established authorities.
The Corps of Engineers does not believe the proposed quarry operations will have much impact on recreation based on their blasting plan and therefore the revenue generated from tourism.