March 12, 2013
The recent snow and rain is putting added pressure on a dam in Greene County.
Officials noticed last month that the dam at Lake Shenandoah was leaking, so they started draining the lake to relieve the pressure on the dam. But the heavy precipitation in recent days has caused the lake level to rise.
"Coming out here and seeing it up to its previous level is very disheartening," said Anita Jwanouskos, a member of the Twin Lakes Homeowners Association.
The dam was built in the 1960s and it is visibly eroding. That's why officials are rushing to drain the lake.
"Having the water level down low reduces the potential of it collapsing," said Jwanouskos.
Officials say the homes in the neighborhood are safe, but the work needs to be done soon. Homeowners are worried not just about the risk of a collapse, but also about the muddy pit that will be left when the lake drains.
"Will it decrease home values? Yes it will," said Twin Lakes resident Alan Culpeper. "In the bad economy, it's hard enough right now to sell a house as it is."
"We don't believe that it's going to hurt the property values," said Jwanouskos. "Because they will have a lake when we get all the repairs finished, and it will be a better dam."
The homeowners association is working with engineers to figure out how to fix the dam. It will likely take months to get the permits, and several more months to complete the work. They are hoping to get some state funds to pay for it, and a little help from neighbors.
"If you're willing to volunteer and help us out with this dam situation we would really appreciate it," said Jwanouskos.
Officials say they hope to have the dam fixed and Lake Shenandoah restored by the fall, but that would require the process to move forward much more quickly than its current pace.