Public hearing on environmental impact of repairs at Boone Dam is next week in Gray

J. H. Osborne • Oct 28, 2015 at 9:00 PM

GRAY — The public is invited to a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) meeting about repairs to Boone Dam on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Described as an “informational open house” hosted by TVA, the meeting is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Daniel Boone High School, 1440 Suncrest Dr.

A draft environmental assessment on the impacts of the Boone Dam Project to make repairs — necessary to end seepage — was released today (Wednesday, Oct. 28) for public review and comment.

That 210-page document is available online at http://www.tva.com/booneprojectea.

The meeting on Nov. 5 will be limited the environmental assessment.

Those wishing to contact TVA with other concerns or questions regarding the Boone Repair project may visit the Boone Repair website or email: boonelake@tva.gov.

More information about submitting comments regarding the environmental assessment are available at https://www.tva.gov/Newsroom/Boone-Dam-Project.

The public comment period ends Nov. 30.

According to TVA’s most recent weekly update of work at the dam, remediation of a sinkhole is now complete, marking the completion of the test grouting program.

And work is underway to lower the crest of the Boone Dam earthen embankment by 10 feet.

This will provide a larger platform to support the exploratory drilling and grouting work.

Local contractors have been hauling loads of material off the top of the earthen embankment and will continue working 10 hours daily the rest of this week.

Each truck can haul about 20 tons of material or about 10 cubic yards per load.

A sinkhole occurred in a non-public parking area on the downstream side of Boone Dam in October 2014. It was filled. Shortly afterward sediment-filled seepage was discovered on the riverbank downstream of the dam.

That’s when TVA announced a quicker-than-usual draw-down to winter levels. Citing safety concerns and continuing work to solve the seepage issue, TVA later announced the lake’s level would not be raised this year.

A long term repair plan announced by TVA in late July — with an estimated completion time of five to seven years and a price tag of $200 million to $300 million — calls for a three-phased repair that will culminate with construction of a “concrete cutoff wall” within the earthen portion of the dam.

It will be include a multi-stage combination of grout injections and concrete.

When completed it will be several feet thick, extend underground as much as 250 feet, and run the entire length of the crescent-shaped earthen section — from the concrete section of the dam, to the parking lot near the beach area.

An environmental review process required by federal law is underway and expected to be completed by January — and the three-phase repair process will begin immediately afterward, TVA officials have said.