CHARLESTON, W.Va. (April 18, 2018) – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Dam Safety section is working with emergency officials in Harrison County to closely monitor a dam that has the potential to fail.
The dam, which is approximately 13 feet tall with a shallow reservoir behind it, is owned by the Town of Lumberport.
The concrete spillway of the dam has failed and water is flowing over and under the collapsed section of the dam. The dam is categorized as “high hazard potential” because total failure has the potential for loss of life. Immediately downstream is another dam, also categorized as “high hazard potential.” That dam has not failed and is being closely monitored by WVDEP Dam Safety staff, Lumberport town engineers, and Harrison County emergency officials.
The dam was last inspected by Lumberport engineers on March 20. That inspection report noted that there was some erosion under the right edge of the spillway. The collapsed dam was discovered by a worker with the Town of Lumberport, who notified WVDEP Dam Safety and other emergency officials at approximately 3:00 p.m. on April 18. Both of the dams being monitored were out of compliance with Dam Safety regulations, and the town was ordered by WVDEP Dam Safety to get both dams into compliance on November 3, 2017. The inspection conducted on March 20 was one of the requirements of the order to come into compliance with Dam Safety regulations.
WVDEP Dam Safety will work with town engineers and emergency crews to open drain gates of the failing dam to relieve pressure and potentially pump water around the failing dam.