Lake Peachtree dam debacle: Questions to be asked
I feel that Steve Brown’s letter to the editor regarding Lake Peachtree warrants a rebuttal. I’ve heard enough from government officials at all levels explaining away this mess as completely unavoidable.
Our local media deserves some criticism also. The lack of follow-up questions to government officials hasn’t served the citizens of our city well at all. Here are some possibilities:
When was the decision made to drain the lake?
Why wasn’t the call made immediately to the Georgia Safe Dams (GSD) department to schedule a January ‘14 inspection, which would have eliminated at least a two-month delay?
In fact, why wasn’t a camera used to inspect the spillway before the lake was lowered (as engineers have said is common practice) so a plan could be executed as soon as possible?
Why didn’t our city engineer/manager immediately have the dam inspected, so a city employee didn’t have to “notice cracks” two months after the lake was lowered, and two weeks before it was to start refilling?
Why didn’t GSD know that our spillway was completely eroded?
What exactly do our state taxes pay for, if it’s in this dangerous condition as a Category 1 dam — meaning “probable loss of life” — and they were unaware?
And how predictable was it that the EPD calls it Category 1? They don’t care about $4 million dollars. They’ve got their jobs to protect.
Why wasn’t the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) consulted about the dredging before the lake was lowered, so the city could begin jumping through the required regulatory hoops?
Why wasn’t the wet-vs.-dry dredging issue decided when the lake-lowering decision was made, or shortly thereafter?
What are the cost differences and benefits between the two methods?
This debacle didn’t just happen. There were many steps that our governments could have taken to have this problem much closer to being fixed. The city does this every 10 years!
Nobody asked the necessary, essential, critical questions, because nobody’s accountable. We’re stuck with this mess for the foreseeable future, as we wait for more bureaucracy to crawl along: The city challenges the Category 1 vs 2 decision (like they’re going to rule in our favor!); it awaits dredging approval from the EPD; then it’s funding approval after a fight between the city and county over who pays how much; then lawsuits ... and so it goes.
But according to Steve Brown (among others), everything is just super. Nobody’s at fault, but everybody’s at fault.
Peachtree City, Ga.