Arrangements to repair Ledbetter Lake Dam are still moving forward, officials said Tuesday.
Four months ago, Richmond County Emergency Services and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) announced that Ledbetter Dam on Ledbetter Road beside Carolyne’s Mills Condos, Inc. was leaking.
NCDENR asked the owner of the dam, Dean Brooks, manager of R.E.C. LLC of Goldston, to lower the lake level, hire an engineer to assess the structural integrity of the dam and submit a plan to NCDENR for temporary and permanent repairs to the dam, said Emergency Services Director Donna Wright in July.
Now NCDENR Regional Engineer Brad Cole is working with Brooks on schedule extensions.
On Oct. 3, NCDENR sent a letter to the owners of the dam, including W.T. “Pete” Ussery of Carolyn’s Mill, Inc., who also owns a portion of the dam.
“On Sept. 28, The Land Quality Section received an email from Mr. Dean Brooks requesting a 12-month extension of time… This letter is to notify you that the proposed extension has been denied,” said the letter. “Using the owners’ engineer letter dated Sept. 24, 2012 as a guide, this office requires the following schedule: Nov. 23 - Preliminary design report due; Jan. 15 - Two sets of calculations, detailed construction plans, and specifications due submitted to the Dam Safety Section; March 15 - Initiate construction; July 1 - Complete construction; July 31 - Record drawings and engineer’s certification due submitted to Dam Safety Section.”
Although this schedule was sent to Brooks, Cole has made the process flexible due to other variants.
“They are not going to meet that deadline,” said Cole on Tuesday. “So they are going to get an extension.”
Cole explained that the Division of Water Quality said the lake’s water level needed to be lowered more slowly, so as to let fish and other wildlife adjust to the lower levels. While this may cause concern for residents of Ledbetter Lake as it appears that water may not return, Cole said there is no reason to worry.
“Upon further review we found that this is not an emergency situation,” said Cole. “The agency (DWQ) said they needed to drain the lake a certain way. We should be getting a preliminary report the week of Dec. 3, and that should include a report with a guide on what they (dam owners) plan to do.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.