Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gwinnett County, Partners Celebrate Dam Safety

Fourteen dams built to keep agricultural land in Gwinnett County from flooding are being upgraded to meet modern safety standards. The County originally partnered with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several local agencies, including the Upper Ocmulgee River Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Gwinnett County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission to design and build the dams between 1965 and 1980. But a rapidly growing population and changing land-use patterns now require new design criteria, primarily to expand spillway capacity.

Gwinnett began a capital improvement program in 1999 to upgrade all 14 dams. Construction is finished at seven dams and upgrade designs are being completed for another three. Two already met the new criteria and the remaining two are considered low-hazard but will be upgraded due to potential future development nearby.

According to Stormwater Division Director Steve Leo, three of the seven dams that have been upgraded were accomplished through the NRCS Dam Upgrade Cost Share Program, which provides 65 percent funding from the federal government. The three structures, No. Y-14, Y-15 and Y-17, are located within the Yellow River drainage basin.

A ceremony to recognize the improvements made to the three structures was held on Aug. 13 at Collins Hill Park in the Lawrenceville area.
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