Lynchburg locals express concern about potential flooding of Blackwater Creek
Following the flooding from Thursday, Feb. 6, Lynchburg residents are voicing their concerns about the stability of the 85-year-old College Lake Dam located next to the University of Lynchburg.
Blackwater Creek receives all of its water directly through the dam, which raised questions for local residents about the amount of debris compiling underneath the dam during times of flooding.
“My concern is the flooding of the area, because we have the pipes next to the bridge that have a lot of trees (and) debris that is just sitting underneath it,” Lynchburg resident Sharon Burns said in an interview with WDBJ7.
According to Burns, the dam frequently floods the creek, which renders a nearby bridge potentially unsafe to cross.
However, Lynchburg’s Water Quality Manager Erin Hawkins assured WDBJ7 that the city closely monitors all potential problems, and will address them before anything serious occurs.
“We have that all tied to a number of alarms and sensors that give us notifications if there is cause to be concerned,” Hawkins said. “Right now, we are good, we are monitoring everything, there is nothing to be concerned with at the dam.”
The College Lake Dam previously suffered extensive damage in late 2018, resulting in evacuation of over 100 residents.
In December 2019, Lynchburg announced plans to remove the dam with the help of engineering firm AECOM to restore Blackwater Lake’s environment, according to WSET.
“Over the next several months, we will work to create a shared vision for the removal of a high-hazard dam and restoration of Blackwater Creek in a way that will allow the community to enjoy this ecological and recreationally rich area,” Lynchburg Deputy City Manager Reid Wodicka said while speaking with WSET.
Craft is the assistant news editor. Follow him on Twitter.