Raleigh To Replace Dams

Sep 23, 2013

This is an aerial picture of the Falls Lake Dam near Raleigh. City officials plan to replace four dams in the city other than this one next year.
Credit NC DENR

Engineers in Raleigh's Storm Water Utilities Department are planning to replace dams protecting some capital city neighborhoods.  Each project is expected to begin next year with costs into the millions of dollars.

Dams are used to hold back water from lakes in residential areas that could rise when heavy rains occur.  John Holley is a regional engineer for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  He says there are several reasons for a dam's replacement.

"With a concrete spillway, oftentimes you have cracks that have occurred because the concrete is weathered and deteriorated..or perhaps you've had water seeping through joints and eroding away at the soil," Holley says.  "Those kind of conditions develop and get to a point where it becomes necessary to do something."

The Raleigh dams will be replaced with the help of money collected from fees charged to homeowners.

The American Society of Civil Engineers released a report that contains the status of dams in the state   As of today, the state's dam safety office regulates 3,404 dams.  1,154 of them -- or about 34 percent -- are listed as high hazard structures in need of repair.