Monday, August 19, 2013
Lewisville dam under scrutiny for safety issues
While there are no immediate concerns, officials are going to investigate how they can improve safety conditions.
LEWISVILLE During its latest screening, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) found safety issues with the Lewisville dam.
USACE will host a meeting to discuss with the public the newfound concerns and plans to remedy the issues.
The meeting will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles Street. Officials will discuss the potential issues with the Lewisville dam and possible solutions, and will begin to gather public comments.
"The dam is not unsafe, however, the potential problems we have identified with the dam, present unacceptably high risk to the large numbers of people, property, and economic and environmental resources located downstream," said Hollie Hunter, environmental resource planner. "While we cannot completely eliminate risk, we can reduce risk. Our screening and classification of this project does not mean it is in imminent danger of failure."
USACE must now prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), according to the National Environmental Policy Act, for the Dam Safety Modification Study at the Lewisville Dam. Hunter said officials will give a presentation on that study, but because they are at the beginning of the process, details will be limited and, most likely, specific questions will not be answered. She said, at the end of the presentation, the public will have the opportunity to voice their comments for record or fill out a comment card. Comments will be accepted throughout the study and should be directed to Fort Worth district public affairs officers Randy Cephus at 817-886-1310, Clay Church at 817-886-1314, or Rhonda Paige at 817-886-1312.
"The likelihood of poor performance is low, but not low enough, so our study will help us identify ways that we can reduce the risk so that it is as low as reasonably practicable. There are many ways to fix the issues that may exist at Lewisville, and that's why the Corps will study every alternative and determine the best, cost effective way to reduce the risk," Hunter said.
Hunter said the objective of the dam safety program is to maintain public safety and to make sure the dams are as safe as possible and risks are minimized. She said routine inspections and operation of the lake and dam will continue and emergency action plans have been developed in coordination with local emergency management officials.
"Currently, there is no evidence to suggest an emergency situation exists, or is about to occur," Hunter said.
The dam safety modification study will take about two to three years to complete. Hunter said the purpose of an EIS is to "help public officials make informed decisions that are a reflection of an understanding of environmental consequences and the alternatives available."
The EIS will include the environmental impacts of the proposed action, any adverse environmental impacts that cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented, reasonable alternatives to the proposed action, the relationship between local short-term uses of the public's environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity, and any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources that would be involved in the proposed action should be implemented.
Hunter said the USACE would host future meetings once the EIS is complete.
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