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What if the dam breaks?

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Water flows down the side of the Woodstock Reservoir Dam off Millertown Road west of Edinburg on Friday. The town of Woodstock received a $12,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Grant will help town study impact of failure

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The town will get some funding help to study what would happen if a dam along Little Stony Creek failed.

Woodstock was among the municipalities, water authorities and homeowner and recreation associations to receive 73 grants from the Virginia Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages the fund.

The release says the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board approved the grants, which ranged from $4,000 to $24,000 and whose total award came to $855,000.
Woodstock has been awarded $12,000.

Besides being used to analyze dam break inundation zones, emergency action plans and damage analysis, the grants are also going toward flood prevention and protection efforts, and floodplain programs, the release says.

Woodstock Town Manager Larry Bradford hadn't received notification of the grant award as of Friday afternoon. He said it will be used for a project on the 18-million-gallon dam along Little Stony Creek on George Washington National Forest land, he said.

"We built a dam in the mid-'50s out there for a water supply," Bradford said. "We no longer get our water there, but we still have the concrete dam there, so we're still responsible for it. We're required to do what's called an inundation study downstream of the dam. An engineer would [inform] us what would happen if the entire dam failed at one time, what would be the catastrophic occurrences downstream."

He said the town had applied for a $17,000 grant to go toward the cost of the project, which is more than $30,000.

Eight years ago, the town voted to spend $157,300 to repair the dam after a state inspection found issues, such as cracks, with it.

In an interview from 2004, Bradford said the Town Council had thought about tearing down the dam and restoring the creek to its original condition, but the $1 million to $1.5 million price tag ruled that out.

According to the news release, a Lake Front Royal Dam project, outside of Front Royal, was awarded $6,600.

1 Comment

I own cabin property immediately downstream from this dam, and those repairs done a few years back have done very little to stop leaks from cracks.
If the dam seems too fragile, it could be easily (and permanently) drained, as it was during the repairs.
If it breaks while full, property damage in the valley below could go into the millions, and the Town might be on the hook for a LOT of cash.

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