Tompkinsville City Commissioners learned that the City Lake’s dam was being reclassified to a “high hazard” through a letter received by Mayor Jeff Proffitt on November 12, 2013. The Commission was completely caught off guard by the notification. The only previous contact made was to the Water Plant supervisor, John Harlan, by phone, to inform him that they would be arriving the next morning for inspection.
Ruth Pike, District Conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, performs quarterly inspections and completed one on April 2, 2013 which noted the dam was in satisfactory condition and maintained properly.
However, this latest inspection letter received from Marily Thomas with the Dam Safety and Floodplain Compliance Section, noted that “due to the presence of homes downstream of the dam, it has been reclassified as a high hazard structure.”
These requirements, according to locals, have never been mentioned in the 30 plus years that the dam has been constructed, which feeds the Tompkinsville water supply.
Thomas’ letter continued: “This dam is hydraulically deficient for a high hazard dam and must be upgraded to meet the state’s minimum requirements for its hazard class.”
A high hazard dam must be able to pass or store 28.9 inches of rainfall in a six hour period without overflowing. The Tompkinsville dam is only capable of handling 16.9 inches at the present time, her letter stated.
Proffitt noted that he, the City’s Engineer David Bowles, Scotty Turner and a representative from the consulting firm Standtack in Lexington, will be attending a meeting with the Division of Water about the matter in the near future.
Other minor infractions including mowing and removal of brush and sapling were ordered to be corrected by January 31.
Bowles, who had also recently conducted a water study for the city, noted that around 71 percent of the water treated and produced by the city’s water plant is lost and not billed at the end. These losses could be through leaks and antiquated meters, he added. He noted that a normal loss for a system such as this is around 15 percent.
Bowles, Commissioners Scotty Turner and Ricky Richardson, along with City Clerk John Buford, will be attending a meeting concerning these losses and the increases needed to make the system more profitable. The Commission also discussed putting in new meters to help monitor the flow and also learned they could purchase refurbished meters from the county at a 50 percent savings.