by: Richard Elliot Updated:
FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga - City and county officials aren't sure when they'll be able to repair the Lake Peachtree dam spillway and refill the empty lake.
Officials drained the huge lake back in February to allow for routine shore maintenance and dock repair. But during an inspection of the Lake Peachtree dam, inspectors said they discovered a series of cracks in the spillway.
According to the Georgia Safe Dams office, further investigation led to the conclusion that water had eroded large sections under the spillway, presenting the danger of collapse. That's why the agency ordered officials to keep Lake Peachtree empty until after the dam is repaired.
The Lake Peachtree dam is classified as a "low hazard" dam, but after the state realized there were now structures built below the dam, it is in the process of reclassifying the dam as "high hazard" meaning that in the event of a collapse, there could be damage to life and property.
"The lake has been drained," said Peachtree city manager Jim Pennington. "We're waiting for an official response from Safe Dams."
Pennington and Fayette County officials said the reclassification process has slowed down their own work. They're also waiting for more information from their engineers as to what kinds of repairs are necessary. No one knows how long it will take before the dam is repaired and the lake is refilled.
"It is very frustrating," said Pennington. "More so, it's frustrating for our citizens who have to see the dried bones of the lake every day. It's a beautiful part of our city."
Pennington said Peachtree City owns the lake, but maintenance and repairs are up to Fayette County because it uses the lake for drinking water.