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Damage control: County to spend $127K to repair failing dam

Staff Photo: Erin Evans 
This large sinkhole is the result of failing stormwater infrastructure attached to a dam off High Point Forest Drive.

Staff Photo: Erin Evans This large sinkhole is the result of failing stormwater infrastructure attached to a dam off High Point Forest Drive.

COVINGTON -- Newton County is paying $127,700 to repair a dam on High Point Forest Drive that is in danger of failing.

If the dam fails, it could wash out the road, Chairman Kathy Morgan told commissioners Tuesday night before they approved the repair work.

"Failure is not a possibility that we will consider," she said.

The associated pond, known as Arthur's Pond, was built around 1990 for recreational purposes. The county at some point made repairs to failing stormwater infrastructure, but according to County Attorney Tommy Craig, the repairs were not professionally designed or installed.

Commissioner Mort Ewing asked how the matter became a county problem since the dam is on private property. Craig answered that the county has an obligation to protect the public road. If the county had not made the original repairs the property owner could be held liable, he said, but, "We set our course many years ago and we need to maintain our course."

According to a letter sent to Morgan by consultants with Southern Enginuity out of Macon, a portion of a concrete channel spillway has failed on the downstream slope of the dam and some of the concrete has fallen into an eroded crevice. A large collection box has corroded and allowed soil to migrate into a stream below. Due to the failure of the spillway and collection box, a downstream corrugated metal pipe and receiving stream are filled with about a foot of silt.

"In a short period of time, another major rain or two, it could break and take out the road," Craig said.

The solution will be to raise the dam 18 inches and lower the pool by 18 inches, demolishing the spillway, collection box and a 30-inch pipe and installation of an inlet box, a 48-inch discharge pipe, plunge pool and a 15-inch pipe with yard inlet.

"The solution that has been proposed by the consultant is to provide a pipe all the way from the pond to the downstream side of the road, reducing future impact to the road. Right now it's subject to severe damage," said County Engineer Tom Garrett.

The $127,700 will cover engineering and repair work.