Amackertown dam update
Published 7:00 am Friday, January 23, 2015
In response to the potential failure of a leaking dam in Amackertown, Pearl River County officials contacted a private contractor who conducted a controlled breach of the dam in order to alleviate building water pressure and eliminate the possibility of an emergency situation.
The dam, which is located on a 50-acre lake in Amackertown, was discovered to be leaking on Wednesday. Pearl River County Emergency Operations Public Information Officer Tony Bounds said on Wednesday that failure of the dam was “imminent” and added that emergency officials were not sure exactly how long the dam would last.
As part of the controlled breach, a four-foot wide trench was dug for drainage purposes. The surging water caused a washout that has widened to almost 30-feet, said Bounds on Thursday.
He added that the entire lake will be drained throughout this process, and it should take three to four days for the lake to be completely emptied.
In addition to Pearl River County officials, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has been on the scene since the leak was discovered. They will remain at the scene to monitor drainage of the lake until the process is completed.
In a statement released to the media on Wednesday, Bounds said the National Weather Service used digital mapping to locate residential structures that may be at risk of damage if the dam failed without the intervention of a controlled breach. The release states that only one residence faced potential danger, and the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department informed the homeowner of the situation.
Wednesday, county officials were concerned with the safety of individuals who may have been hunting or camping in the sparsely populated area, but by Thursday Bounds said that any possible dangers due to dam failure have been eliminated by the controlled breach.
“The emergency situation has been completely mitigated,” said Bounds.
Bounds said the county’s first priority after the lake is drained is to repair the dam, but no other information regarding the future of the lake is currently available.