JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority announced today that water levels at Boone Lake will remain lower than normal as TVA addresses recurrent sediment seepage near an earthen embankment of Boone Dam.
“The safety of downstream communities, industries, the public and our employees is our top priority,” said John McCormick, vice president of Safety, River Management and Environment.
“Boone Lake is an important part of the recreational and economic fabric of the area and we recognize the impact of keeping the lake low through the all-important summer months,” he said. “We are committed to working with the community and will keep them informed of our progress as we focus on repairing the dam.”
A sinkhole was discovered and fixed near the base of the embankment in Oct. 2014. Shortly thereafter, water and sediment were found seeping from the riverbank below the dam.
TVA lowered the lake10 feet below normal winter levels as it investigated the cause of the seepage. Initial results indicate that erosion may be occurring within the foundation of the earthen embankment at normal lake levels. Without correcting the issue, raising the level of the lake could potentially increase the rate of erosion.
“We detected this issue early, but it’s important that we take the proper steps now to prevent the possibility of more damage,” added McCormick. “The lake will remain at the current level or lower for at least the next year as we take the first steps in our repair work.”
Work is anticipated to begin this spring on using grout injection to improve conditions underneath the earthen embankment. At the same time, TVA engineers and industry experts will continue their work to determine the best permanent repair, and analyze how lake levels will be impacted during construction.
“Our engineers and experts, who are some of the best in the country, are working with independent industry leaders to determine the best long-term repair options for the earthen embankment,” McCormick said.
Boaters should use caution while operating on Boone Lake because of the lower-than-normal water levels. Even seasoned boaters familiar with Boone can get into an unsafe situation from shallow, underwater hazards like rocks, stumps and debris.
“We certainly want to encourage those hardy anglers who like fishing this time of year to take advantage of Boone Lake and all of the area lakes and rivers,” said Rebecca Tolene, vice president of Natural Resources. “Just be sure to be safe, always wear a life jacket and be extra careful on Boone because of the below normal water level.”
A community Open House will be held March 10 at Daniel Boone High School in Gray, Tenn., from 5 to 8 p.m. to provide information on the Boone Dam project.
TVA also reminds the public that it is illegal to remove, disturb, dig or damage historical or cultural artifacts on federal property, including items exposed on land normally covered by water. The public is asked to leave such materials in place and report anyone digging for artifacts to 1-855-476-2489.
TVA’s website and social media sites will provide up-to-date information about the Boone Dam project and current lake level information.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.
TVA Public Relations, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000
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