Wolf Creek dam work is partially suspended now

JAMESTOWN, KY-The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announced last week a partial suspension of work here on the Wolf Creek Dam.

Instrumentation used to monitor the foundation has indicated movement and increased hydrostatic pressure since work began in the area adjacent to the concrete section of the dam, which includes Critical Area 1.

“As a precautionary measure, we have suspended construction in Critical Area 1 while we evaluate the most recent monitoring and instrumentation data,” Barney Davis, Chief of Engineering and Construction Division for the Nashville District said.

Critical Area 1 is the portion of the dam where the earthen embankment ties into the concrete section and has been the major source of seepage during the history of the dam’s operation.

“We want to ensure that our treatment methods are effective and that we can safely install the remainder of the concrete barrier wall,” Davis said.

The suspension affects only 600 feet of the 4400-foot long, 275-foot deep concrete barrier wall, which is the major structural component of the $584 million rehabilitation project.  Work is continuing in the non-critical areas of the dam, and Davis indicated that the Corps does not foresee any changes to the lake operation plan at this time.

Instrumentation used to monitor the dam’s foundation is one of the Interim Risk Reduction Measures (IRRM) in place at Wolf Creek, which are designed to minimize risk to public safety in the short term while pursuing long-term permanent fixes, such as the ongoing rehabilitation project.

“Wolf Creek Dam is one of the most heavily monitored dams in the country,” stressed Davis.  “Our instrumentation is doing its job and giving us the information we need to protect public safety and effectively rehabilitate the dam.”