“They came in and knocked some holes in the dam and took out about a foot in the center at first,” Cousins says. “All of a sudden, the water stopped going over the dam and started running under the sheet piling and coming up on the other side. There was water gushing up about three feet high on the other side of the dam.”
With fifty cubic feet of water per second flowing underneath the dam, the force of the water threatened the creek embankment and the new bridge abutments already in place downstream from the dam.
“The consultants decided the dam had probably eroded underneath before, but all that silt had filled it in,” Cousins says. “When they took the sediment out, that space opened up again.”
Working with officials from the DEQ, the consultants decided to reduce pressure on the dam by bringing the water level in the impoundment pond down faster than planned. The dam removal, expected to take six weeks, was completed in four.