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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.

Frank Herman
Peachtree City, Ga.



peanutgallery's picture

Gotta face the truth - we've got a flooded swamp where a lake should be..

Skimming the crust off Lake Peachtree's sediment filled bottom every few years in a too shallow basin is a waste of taxpayer money.

And now taxpayers are faced with the additional problem of tearing out and rebuilding the dam. That is going to be a BIG expensive deal. Perfect time to have county and city leadership show some cooperation and do what should have been done in the first place to make things right with Lake Peachtree.

Bring in the heavy earth moving gear and take out 10 to 20 feet of the basin floor. Spread that soil downstream to fill in 10 to 15 of our thousands of acres of precious wetlands to create a proper Lake Peachtree as the centerpiece of this well palnned community, and some beautiful parkland at the same time...

Federal, and maybe state, funding is possible for well planned reservoir expansion projects. Giving Lake Peachtree proper depth will increase it's water reserve capacity something like ten times over what it provides today. The result would be a proper lake, much lower maintneance costs, more useful parkland, and additional water resources for future needs.


Peanut gallery

mudcat's picture

to pull of something like that. He or she would have to have unanimous support of all of PTC City Council and Fayette County Commission and have a strong working relationship with state and federal agencies who would have to sign off on something like that. Besides filling in that much wetlands would mean donating or creating and equal amount elsewhere. Plus the tree huggers - or in this case frog huggers, would come out in force about our endangered wildlife that reside in the swamp.

No strong leader anywhere around here so we have to go back to the winner and loser model where someone who wants to look good has to win which of course means someone else has to lose . Sad but true. You already know the lawyers are positioned to win and taxpayers and water users are going to lose big time - only question is who else will get beaten down by this - city or county.

You ask..."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?"

Probably because the City Manager (Doctor) was doing what he does best...researching ways to outsource the inspection! Then he could come back a year or two later and say we need to bring this function back into control by city employees!

It's time to send the Doctor to another municipality. One more to add his long career list of employers. He has done nothing constructive since he arrived except to cost the city millions in legal fees and law suits.

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