Inspection time for city dams

February 25, 2019

State regulators will be in Rome over the next few weeks to conduct required inspections of two city-owned dams.

The Conasauga Lake dam in Garden Lakes and the Stonebridge Lake dam at the golf course community in Armuchee are both high-risk, Category I, dams. The label means that, if they were to fail, there’s a potential for serious property damage and loss of human lives.

Rome Public Works Director Chris Jenkins said city crews conduct quarterly inspections to look for seepage and other signs of deterioration. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources sends out inspectors on an annual basis.

“They’ll be doing it in February and March and will be making recommendations on maintenance improvements,” he told the City Commission’s public works committee.

Both held back the water during the recent rains, but Jenkins said there likely will be some issues to address.

“At Stonebridge, they’ve had some questions about how it was constructed 25 years ago,” Jenkins said. “We’re working with them now and we’ll present the results when they’re done.”

The earthen dam at Stonebridge Lake impounds 458 acre-feet of water at a height of 23 feet, according to the National Inventory of Dams released this month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Its last inspection was signed off on March 16, 2017, along with the inspection for the Conasauga Lake dam. Built in 1951, the Conasauga impoundment is 336 acre-feet at a height of 15 feet.

Jenkins said the city paved a track around Conasauga Lake in 2016 — except for the top of the dam, due to the weight of the equipment — but inspectors have focused on areas where the pavement is cracking.

“We might change it over to a natural path. It’s not a big concern,” he said.

The earthen dam also has shrubs growing into it. Crews keep them cut back but Jenkins said they can’t be allowed to grow larger than eight inches in diameter. A piece of Garden Lakes historical trivia: The spillway was built in 1958 by Jenkins’ grandfather.

The other Category I dam in the county is at the Berry College quarry, sometimes called the Possum Trot Reservoir. The 74-foot dam impounds 1,562 acre-feet of water slated to be the centerpiece of The Spires at Berry, a retirement village currently under construction. DNR inspectors also examine Berry’s dam when they look at the ones belonging to Rome.