Alexander, Corker Announce Funding for Important Safety Repairs at Wolf Creek and Center Hill Dams

Bill Also Includes Funding for Other Water Infrastructure Projects Across Middle Tennessee

Posted on October 15, 2009

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced today that the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which passed the Senate today, includes funding to aggressively continue the safety repairs at Wolf Creek and Center Hill Dams. The bill also provides funding for several other water infrastructure projects in middle Tennessee. Both Center Hill and Wolf Creek Dams were designated “high risk” for failure in January of 2007. The senators said that currently ratepayers in Middle Tennessee have to pay an additional $100 million a year in replacement power while water levels at the dams are down for the repairs. “This funding will support several important projects in our state, including repairs to two dams that have been designated as ‘high risk’ since 2007,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I’m glad to see these federal dollars coming to Tennessee to help ensure that Tennesseans are kept safe from flooding and have continuous access to safe drinking water.” “These funds for ongoing maintenance of essential water-related infrastructure along Tennessee's waterways will help ensure public safety, preserve quality of life for Tennesseans, and promote economic development,” said Corker. “This legislation also supports the important mission of Oak Ridge National Lab, which is one of our nation’s most valuable resources for advanced scientific research and innovation.” Key Tennessee projects funded in the Conference Report of the FY10 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act include: • $116.2 million for repairs to Wolf Creek Dam. Seepage has caused zones of high water pressure in the embankment next to the dam, posing a significant risk of dam failure and threatening the surrounding communities with flooding. Funding would be used to continue to build a cutoff wall to prevent seepage into the embankment. The bill also includes $8.5 million for operations and maintenance of the dam. • $52.9 million for repairs to Center Hill Dam. Since its construction in 1951, seepage problems have cost millions of dollars for constant upkeep. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Dam Safety Portfolio Risk Assessment ranked Center Hill Dam as a Class I dam safety project -- the highest priority of all Corps dams. The bill also includes $5.84 million for operations and maintenance of the dam. • $45,000 for the Mill Creek Watershed to complete a feasibility study to address flooding problems. Mill Creek is a major tributary of the Cumberland River in southeastern Davidson County and northwestern Williamson County. • $6.1 million for Cheatham Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance. • $6.5 million for Cordell Hull Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance. • $4.6 million for J. Percy Priest Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance. • $11.7 million for Old Hickory Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance. • $6.1 million for Dale Hollow Lake Dam for continued operations and maintenance. The bill must now be signed by the president before becoming law.