The U.S. Government says Wolf Creek Dam is more or less structurally sound.
“There is nothing physically different within the dam than what we have seen within the last two years,” says Steve Roemhildt with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, after a two hour closed door meeting between government, economic development and tourism officials.
However, there leak is serious enough to drop Lake Cumberland's level enough to put most boat ramps out of the water.
“Currently there are 48 improved boat ramps that serve Lake Cumberland; at 680 elevation, eight of those will be accessible,” says Roemhildt.
Army Corps officials say nothing has changed at the dam in the last year, but since Hurricane Katrina, risk analysis has taken on new meaning.
“I think we are being more careful because of the situation down with Katrina levees associated with New Orleans,” Roemhildt said.
The grouting work, the process of actually pouring a concrete wall inside the dam has already started. That repair job was originally supposed to last seven years. Now, the U.S. government hopes it can be done sooner, but there is no guarantee.
Just like there is not a 100 percent guarantee the work to fix the leak under the dam will work.
However, Roemhildt says, “…We have a high amount of confidence this will work.”
Best case scenario: the lake level will be brought back to normal next year and the repair job won't take seven years.
Worse case scenario: Lake Cumberland probably won't look much like a lake, as its level would be dropped 70 more feet if the leak gets worse.