Urgent Efforts to Fix Dangerous Dam in Lincoln County

Estimated read time 4 min read

In High Shoals, a peaceful spot in Lincoln County’s south, there’s growing worry for the Carpenters Lake dam. This dam is vital because it keeps a small but important lake steady. On March 11th, local officials got wind of a potential problem with the dam and quickly took action. They called for state experts to examine it closely.

Quick Action on the Possible Threat

Lincoln County Emergency Management got on the case right away. At 9 p.m., their check showed big erosion damage to the emergency pipe under Mirror Lake Drive. This wasn’t just bad for the dam. it also put the road at risk. By 9,30 p.m., they shut down the road for all drivers, and soon after, transportation authority’s set up strong barriers to keep people away.

The seriousness of this issue Notified both the N.C. Emergency Management and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s (NCDENR) Dam Safety team about an issue with a dam that was ranked as a top-level concern, making it important to look into whether the dam might break.

Inspection and Preliminary Findings

Early next day, the NCDENR Dam Safety group checked out the dam and luckily found it wasn’t about to collapse right away. Despite this good news, they did worry more rain, or floods could make things worse and possibly cause the dam to give way.

The department is now getting in touch with whoever owns the dam to tell them they need to do something quick to stop the problem from getting out of hand. This shows how tricky it can be dealing with old structures that are at risk because of changes in weather and stuff like that.


Broader Implications and Community Alert

The danger of the dam breaking could affect more than just Lincoln County. it could also hurt places in Lincoln and Gaston counties. Officials in Lincoln County have started to warn people who own property south of Mirror Lake Road. They’re pointing out how communities are linked together and share the risk when infrastructure like dams isn’t safe.

A Statewide Concern

Carpenters Lake shows a big problem that the whole state of North Carolina is dealing with. The state has 35 dams that are in really bad shape and extremely dangerous (“unsatisfactory” and “high hazard”). These dams need urgent fixes because if they break, they could destroy things and put lives at risk. Besides those, there are another 159 dams that are also very dangerous (“high hazard”) but not quite as bad off (“poor”), which still means they need some serious repairs.

North Carolina has a whopping total of over 6,000 dams, so this issue is becoming pretty critical. More and more dams are being flagged as problematic.

There’s an urgent need to fix and upgrade dams comprehensively. This need has gotten worse due to delayed repairs, more building happening downstream, and climate change resulting in heavier and more often storms.


Federal Support and Future Steps

Last year, President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill which sets aside close to $3 billion for dam projects all over the nation. But this money is just a small part of what’s actually needed to make sure thousands of dams are safe and fixed up properly.

In North Carolina, there’s work being done to make some dams better. For instance, three dams that Duke Energy owns at the HF Lee plant they’re not being used now but they store ash might get better safety scores after getting some serious upgrades. This shows us that if we really put our backs into it and invest right, we can make things better.


A Call to Action

The worries about the Carpenters Lake dam remind everyone that action needs to be taken quickly.

Aging Infrastructure and Climate Change, A Harsh Reality

Recent events highlight the difficulty of maintaining old structures under changing weather conditions. Officials in Lincoln County, along with those on the state level, are dealing with immediate dangers. Still, dam safety is an urgent issue for places all over North Carolina and the rest of the US.

It’s crucial for government agencies at every level to collaborate with private dam owners. With expanding populations and more environmental stress, it’s clear we must invest in making our infrastructure more robust. The troubles in Lincoln County show how vital it is to be ready, act fast, and keep a close watch to ensure that people, their homes, and nature aren’t harmed by failing dams.

Celina Brooks https://www.southcountymail.com

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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