Two lakes threatened by pipe leak

Published 4:19 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A leak in the main pipe beneath a dam is threatening to drain two large lakes in northeast Hancock County and kill fish.

The dam was built in 1987. It serves White Cypress Lake and adjoining Quail Ridge Lake. The lakes cover 120 and 82 acres of land and are home to bass, catfish, carp and other fish.

John Thompson, with the White Cypress Lakes Property Owners Association, said Monday the lakes — both 12 to 15 feet deep in the center — are dropping an average of two inches daily.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Thompson said the drainage pipe serves both lakes.

White Cypress Lakes residents have asked Hancock County supervisors to stop the leak and restore the dam to Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality regulations.

“Soon the fish will be floating in a mud puddle if something isn’t done,” Thompson wrote in a letter to supervisors.

Thompson said it may be possible to repair the 50-inch in diameter pipe but it would be “easier to replace it.”

Thompson said that the Homeowners Association has a contractor ready to make repairs, but has not been able to get necessary blueprints for the dam.

Lake residents are also asking the county to declare a small road across the dam a public right of way and take over maintenance.

Thompson said currently residents are doing all of the maintenance on the road, which is only large enough for one vehicle to cross at a time.

White Cypress Lake has 63 homes around its shores and Quail Ridge Lake has 30 homes.

Supervisors on Monday asked a Gulf Regional Planning Commission representative to search for grants that may be available for the homeowners to restore the dam.