On Saturday, the Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) released a media advisory stating the utility will be performing needed maintenance and repairs on Inland Lake Dam for the next several months. This will include releasing additional water from the lake.
Some residents in the Inland Lake area voiced concern over the repairs being related to a leak in the dam, but Blount County EMA director Max Armstrong said workers had discovered a seepage area that appeared different than usual upon inspection. have an emergency plan in place if something happens, but activating that plan isn’t needed in this situation.”
Armstrong says he receives two e-mails a day updating him on the work’s progress and, as of Monday, the lake was 27 feet below capacity.
According to the BWWB press release,“Quantities of water being released are being managed with the intent to mitigate any adverse effect to residents downstream of Inland Lake.”
Sonny Jones, assistant general manager of engineering and maintenance, explained part of the maintenance process called sonic drilling.
“Birmingham Water will bore the dam in 20 locations in order to take 20 samples of the dams’ interior,” he said. “This technique does not use a conventional auger to drill the core sample, but instead uses high frequency vibrations to cut through obstacles with minimal disturbance to the dam. The holes created by the samples are then sealed and the samples are analyzed.”
Workers will also be exploring why there are a few slumps or dimples on the face of the dam, according to Jones.
“The slumps could have been caused by several factors, and that is one of the things we will be investigating,” he said.
Jones says what caught the workers’ attention to investigate was the combination of seepage and the extended dry period. He explains this is more of a precautionary procedure for the public’s protection.
Probate Judge Chris Green expressed his approval with the maintenance work being done at the dam.
“I am completely certain that nothing going on at Inland Lake is dangerous to anyone,” he said. “They are ensuring the dam will be safe for the next 100 years. As the commissioner chairman, I assure everyone there is no cause for alarm.”
The press release stated no interruption in water supply would occur in connection with the maintenance and repair work. However, residents will not be able to use the boat launch facilities at either end of the lake because both will be temporarily closed. Bank fishing is permitted but not advised.
Work is expected to continue on into the summer months.
Contact Birmingham Water Works with any questions or concerns at 244-4000 or visit birminghamwaterworks.com.