Tompkinsville City Commissioners learned Thursday night that repairs need to be made to the city’s dam on Mill Creek.
Mayor Jeff Proffitt shared information regarding a letter he had received from the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Water, on Nov. 12 stating personnel with the cabinet, inspected the dam on Nov. 7 and, based on their visual inspection, the following deficiencies need to be corrected: mow the upstream and downstream slopes, remove all brush and saplings from the upstream slope and downstream left (facing downstream) abutment, repair the erosion gulley at the bottom of the downstream right (facing downstream) abutment and monitor the foundation drains for any changes in flow or color.
The commission has until Jan. 31 to address the deficiencies, the letter stated. If the commission doesn’t comply, the case will be referred to the Division of Enforcement for issuance of a notice of violation and possible enforcement action.
The letter also stated that due to the presence of homes downstream, the dam has been reclassified as a high hazard structure, and that it is hydraulically deficient for a high hazard dam and must be upgraded to meet the state’s minimum requirements for its hazard class. A high hazard dam must be capable of passing/storing 28.9 inches of rainfall in a 6 hour period with overtopping. The dam on Mill Creek is currently only capable of 16.9 inches, the letter stated.
Ruthie Pike with the Monroe County Natural Resource Conservation Service conducted an inspection of the dam in April, but did not find any erosion gulley.
“I really didn’t see any,” Pike said Thursday during a special-called meeting of the commission.
The NRCS does quarterly and annual inspections of dams and spillways it had helped with the cost share in building the dam. Pike told commissioners when she did the inspection in April, they were pleased with the vegetation coverage, Pike said.
Pike recommended the commission contact the Division of Dam Safety to find out what recommendations are available.
Pike suggested commissioners also contact the city of Elizabethtown and Rep. Jimmie Lee from Hardin County about a similar situation they had with a dam on Freeman Lake and with Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick about a problem they had with the Mud River Watershed in western Kentucky.
Commissioner Scotty Turner suggested the commission invite those who conducted the inspection to meet with commissioners to discuss their report.
Pike recommended the city water manager put together a project profile and send it to the Barren River Area Development District. She also suggested the commission get with Monroe County Judge-Executive Tommy Willett about adopting an ordinance prohibiting the construction of any structures in the area near the dam. The area below the dam is actually in the county rather than the city.
“I’m certainly not trying to be an alarmist,” Pike said, but added she would like to work with commissioners and help them through the process in correcting issues with the dam.
The commission is scheduled to attend a water project ranking meeting on Dec. 2. Pike recommended the project profile be completed prior to the ranking meeting.
“I just don’t want you to miss that ranking meeting,” she said, adding if the commission does, it will have to wait another year.
David Bowles with Monarch Engineering Inc. from Lawrenceburg also suggested commissioners meet with the division of water about the issue.
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