JAMESTOWN, Ky. (AP) - Federal officials said Thursday they don't
plan to lower the water level at Lake Cumberland while work is
halted on a section of the lake's massive dam in south central
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended repair work this week
on a 600-foot section of Wolf Creek Dam after they detected
movement near where the concrete dam attaches to a long earthen
The nearly mile-long structure impounds the largest man-made
reservoir east of the Mississippi River.
"It's really too early to tell if it's a small problem or
not," said David Hendrix, the repair project manager for the Corps
of Engineers in Nashville.
Workers have been pumping runny cement, or grout, into
underground cavities along the dam's foundation as part of the $584
million project. Hendrix said he believes the movement could be
related to some grouting being done in an underground cave feature
that is partially filled with clay material.
"If it's just the material moving as a response to our
grouting, that's not a great big problem," he said.
He said an evaluation would likely take four to six weeks, but
work on the rest of the dam has not slowed.
The lake's water level has remained about 40 feet below typical
summer depths during the repairs, which began in early 2007.
Barney Davis, chief of the Corps' Engineering and Construction
Division in Nashville, said he does not expect any changes to be
made to the lake's operation plan.
"Wolf Creek Dam is one of the most heavily monitored dams in
the country," Davis said in a statement. "Our instrumentation is
doing its job and giving us the information we need to protect
public safety and effectively rehabilitate the dam."
Federal officials announced the repair project in January 2007,
noting that if Wolf Creek Dam fails, it could flood towns and
cities down the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee,
reaching downtown Nashville.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)