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City, county fight dam classification

By JOHN THOMPSON

jthompson@TheCitizen.com

Peachtree City and Fayette County are calling out the EPD in hopes that an administrative hearing can speed up the refilling of Lake Peachtree.

The guns-blazing assault against the state agency appeared in a July 17 petition filed with the state’s office of administrative hearings.

In June, EPD director Judson Turner reclassified the dam as a Category 1 dam, under the umbrella of the Georgia Safe Dams Act. The new classification could slow the process and increase the cost of fixing the dam and bringing the lake back to its pristine condition.

The petition for hearing claims Turner made his determination from a review of the 100-year flood plain that showed a house on Fenn Way could be flooded if the dam is breached.

Shortly after Turner’s reclassification, Peachtree City officials made an open records request of the EPD and discovered several items after inspecting the documents.

First, the city maintains that an inspection of the dam never occurred. The city also maintains the director performed the inventory and re-classification in accordance with the Safe Dams Program of QualityAssurance Plan.

The city and county also maintain the last review of the dam for reclassification was completed in 2006, and in fact, the department categorized the dam as a Category 2 in August 2006.

Peachtree City also maintains the director did not conduct any dam breach modeling.

The city has retained Randall Bass at Schnabel Engineering as its engineer of record and based upon his preliminary review of the dam and inundation zone, there does not appear to be a probability of loss of life during a flood. The city asks the administrative hearing judge to reclassify the dam as Category 2.

There has been no date set for the hearing.

A spokesman for the EPD would not comment on the issue, stating it was to early in the process to discuss the hearing.

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