Water release continues from Miss. dam

Published 11:07 pm Monday, September 3, 2012

Mississippi officials said Monday that they have released enough water from a 700-acre lake swollen with rain from Isaac to bring it to normal pool levels.

James MacLellan, dam safety director with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, sad officials will drop Lake Tangipahoa at Percy Quin State Park another five feet this week.

“There is almost no water going over the spillway,” MacLellan said from the site Monday.

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MacLellan said by the time the lake is dropped another five feet, workers should have completed a drainage ditch that will divert even more water from the lake into nearby fields.

“Every foot this lake drops increases the level of safety,” MacLellan said. “That only helps us.”

He said work on the ditch, or channel, had been slowed by both rain and other topographical difficulties, such as having to dig through a hill. MacLellan said work was continuing around the clock.

MacLellan said the dam is stable. He said plans are to drain the lake and bring the dam up to standards.

Lake Tangipahoa’s earthen dam at Percy Quin State Park — a 2,300-foot levee on which a two-lane roadway runs — has not been breached. It is located about 15 miles north of the Louisiana line.

On Saturday, the mandatory evacuation of areas within a half-mile of the Tangipahoa River in Tangipahoa Parish, La., was lifted by local officials.

The evacuation order for Tangipahoa River-area residents was issued Thursday in response to reports that water would be released from the Lake Tangipahoa dam.