Thursday, June 7, 2007

Balsam Mountain Preserve Dam Break

So, we got to work this morning with the news that a dam at Balsam Mountain Preserve had broken, and water was pouring into Scott's Creek. Thanks to the drought, it appears unlikely that there will be a torrential flood, although indications are that plenty of silt and mud will be deposited downstream. Really nice for the trout.

What went wrong? An article from a couple of years back goes into some detail regarding Balsam Mountain Preserve's erosion control measures. So how many more of these jackleg dams are sitting on the mega-developments in Jackson County. Which will be the next to break? What are the responsibilities of the developers when the downstream areas are damaged by the released sediment? I wonder if the developers will educate us on this at Monday night's public hearing regarding the subdivision and steep slope ordinances.

Just wondering.

And if these dams are going to start breaking during an extended drought, it makes you wonder what hell will break loose if we start to get heavy rains again. I'm sure our friendly developers will have all the answers for us on Monday. Bastards. Greedy dissembling bastards.

Balsam Mountain Preserve map

From the erosion control article cited above (I have no idea if the dam mentioned herein is the same dam that failed this morning):

The stables and associated pasture encompassed 5 acres of clearing adjacent to Cashie Branch. All of the site was graded to drain away from the creek and into a 4,000-cubic-foot sediment basin. We recommended the use of a flashboard riser outlet, which was installed in March 2003. This was installed in a manner similar to a perforated riser, placed away from the dam wall and with a stone collar due to the contractor’s unfamiliarity with this type of outlet. More specific instructions to install it closer to the dam wall and anchored to the bottom with stakes or cement were needed. The purpose of the flashboard riser is to allow the formation of a permanent pool while retaining the ability to drain the basin if needed to remove sediment.
Most of the area was well stabilized with grass and mulch when grading was complete, but a fill area for the stables continued to contribute sediment to runoff for several months
. The first attempt to reduce this impact was to install a small sediment trap below the disturbed area. While this did retain a large amount of the sediment, the water was then released on the pasture, creating more erosion.

From WLOS:
A river of mud and debris marks the spot where a dam break sent about a million gallons of water down a mountain in Jackson County today. It happened in a development called Balsam Mountain Preserve. Emergency management crews do not know what caused the dam to break. The water went about 4 to 5 miles down into Cripple Creek. The dam at an irrigation pond broke about 8:50 this morning and put debris on about 10 bridges in and around the development. Emergency management tells us it could have been a dangerous situation but fortunately no one was hurt. No one had to evacuate and no home sites were damaged. Workers are looking at exactly what happened and how to fix it.
Furthermore, compare the Balsam Mountain Preserve hype...

When we say that Balsam Mountain Preserve's 38 miles streams are the purest you'll find anywhere, we're not exaggerating. That's a scientific fact, documented by our own on-staff naturalists and some of the many professional researchers who use Balsam Mountain as a living laboratory. As a result of the careful work of the Balsam Mountain Trust, which manages the land and streams in our preserve, Balsam Mountain Preserve earned high marks in an independent study measuring water quality. Thanks to our pristine waters, our streams are the last homes of the southern brook trout. Once common throughout the region, this fish has grown rare as more streams become inundated with silt and chemicals. But the southern brook trout is thriving here - and that's good news for those who enjoy both fishing and the beauty of untouched nature. (blah, blah, blah)
...with reality:

balsam mountain preserve golf course dam break, jackson county


Anonymous said...

We are a nation of laws, enforce them. There is no way the dam would have failed if they had properly applied bentinite to the dam building process. Someone wake up Arnold Palmers drunk ass and cite his company responsible.
Mark Zwick
Camp Creek

Anonymous said...

like what you said about calling river the is worthy of speaking the entire name Tuckaseegee River. grated me the first time I heard it used that way

kinda like wcu "get in the Whee" and the whee car stickers we see. can only imagine how you could comment on get in the whee,,,keep writing.I just found your blog.