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Spillway Gates at Dam to Be Opened July 11
– By Tiffani Ireland –
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to open the flood gates at the three dams located on the Upper Savannah River – dams at Lake Hartwell, Lake Russell, and Lake Thurmond – July 10 and 11. According to a release on the website Balancingthebasin.armylive.dodlive.mil by Billy Birdwell, Sr. Public Affairs Specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, this required testing of the spillway gates is to ensure the gates are working properly and can be activated in the event of an emergency.
All three lakes are currently listed as being above full pool. As of July 1, Lake Hartwell was listed as 2 feet above its normal full levels. Thus, Birdwell said the opening of the flood gates “will have only a minimal impact on reservoir levels.” The test will begin at the uppermost lake, Hartwell, and continue downstream. It is expected to lower the levels at Lake Hartwell about 3 inches.
The public may observe the openings but is cautioned to do so from designated viewing areas. Additionally, swimmers and boaters are warned to avoid the area immediately downstream of the dams due to what will be a rapid increase in water flow.
The spillways at Lake Thurmond will be opened July 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The public can view this test from the Below Dam S.C. Park on the S.C. side of the lake. For directions or more details, please call the visitor’s center at 1-800-533-3478.