Economic hits mount with permit delays for dredging Lake Peachtree

The infamous spillway on Lake Peachtree. Photo/Bonnie Hester.

With Lake Peachtree unusable, August triathlon canceled; uncertainties about Dragon Boat Race

County officials last week announced another potential delay in refilling Lake Peachtree.

The proposed dry dredging of the lake bed will require state and/or federal permits, unlike previously thought, according to County Manager Steve Rapson. This stands to delay the dredging process by at least several months.

The lake has been drained almost completely since February when it was lowered to allow dock and shoreline maintenance ... but in the interim problems were discovered with a cavern that was created underneath the lake’s spillway, threatening its structural integrity.

As a result, the county has not refilled the lake while engineers from the city and the county work on solutions to the problem and are simultaneously awaiting a key ruling from state regulators on the lake’s classification, which will dictate the extent of the repairs to a large degree.

Lake Peachtree is owned by the city but maintained by the county, which uses it as a drinking water reservoir.

In the meantime, one of the city’s signature athletic events has had to cancel its August plans due to the unavailability of Lake Peachtree. While the Tri-PTC Sprint Triathlon could have used Lake McIntosh for its swimming event, doing so requires the biking route to cross the railroad tracks in the city’s industrial park.

During a mid-May triathlon, hundreds of bikers got blocked by trains passing through, according to race director Kim Bramblett. Because of a worry that participants might try to race the train across the tracks at the last second, the decision was made to cancel the 14th edition of the race, she added.

“We loved having the event over at Lake McIntosh,” Bramblett said. “... More than anything, it’s the safety of our athletes we’re trying to protect. We had to do our due diligence and be careful. But Lake McIntosh is just beautiful.”

The plan is for Tri-PTC to come back “bigger and better” next year, Bramblett said, adding that Mayor Vanessa Fleisch went the extra mile to try and help avoid canceling the race.

“I would say the mayor bent over backwards to try and help us in every way possible to make this happen, but there’s nothing she can do about the train schedule. I realize it’s out of her hands,” Bramblett said.

Fleisch said she was pleased the May event could be held at Lake McIntosh, adding that county officials were happy with the condition in which the triathletes left the lake and park area following the race. But the logistical issues were too much to overcome, Fleisch added.

Fleisch said there are hopes the International Dragon Boat Festival hosted by the city and the Peachtree City Rotary Club can be moved to Lake McIntosh.

The news of the permit requirement for the dredging was helpful to hear from County Administrator Steve Rapson, Fleisch said, adding that the timeline is still unclear for getting the lake’s spillway fixed so the lake can be refilled back to its normal level.

“It’s still difficult to determine because there are quite a few things out of our control at this point,” Fleisch said.

There is some good news surrounding Lake Peachtree, as the cart path bridge spanning the lake parallel to Ga. Highway 54 is nearly complete, Fleisch said.

Also, the lake’s low level will not result in the canceling of the city’s annual July 4 fireworks display, city officials have said previously.

“I just am looking forward to hopefully getting more information from the county as they progress and the permits come and we can get people seeing the movement,” Fleisch said. “I think that’s the next important step.”

Because of the contractual implications of the pending work on the lake, the city has hired an outside attorney to represent it in discussions with the county. The county is responsible for maintaining the lake’s dam and spillway per an agreement from the 1960s that was amended two decades later.

Councilman Eric Imker recently called for the county to begin designing the spillway repairs to coincide with the worst-case scenario, which is if the state determines Lake Peachtree could endanger lives downstream if the dam and/or spillway were to fail. The catch is that such a design would almost certainly be more expensive than what is necessary if the state declines to make such a ruling.

A decision from the state’s Safe Dams program is expected by the end of this month.

And the city announced Tuesday that repairs on the cart path bridge adjacent to Ga. Highway 54 crossing Flat Creek are completed and the bridge is now reopened for cart and pedestrian traffic.

lettinguno
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Mayor and Lake Peachtree

If I was a resident who has property on Lake Peachtree, I would be banging on the door of the Mayor every morning. Skip all the political bantering and get the lake fixed. The slogan "Peachtree City, you'll love to call it home" no longer applies.

moelarrycurly
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Getting the lake fixed

Someone tell me who would think anyone, (city elected, county elected, staff for both, residents or anyone else), does NOT want the lake fixed yesterday.

If you want to know something going on currently, get in touch with these people below-the dam issue is in their hands right now.

http://www.damsafety.org/map/state.aspx?s=10

Dredging, well, when certain city folk return from the meeting below next week, might be some progress made there, too.

http://www.gmanet.com/Convention/Default.aspx

I still love to call the city home. I know others who do, too. I do believe those who live on the lake are very well informed about the progress being made. Has anyone heard otherwise? Throwing a second attorney in the mix was not a move that allowed this process to move forward with lightening speed, as you will find out soon. How about banging on her door to answer that question.

Husband and Fat...
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Moe

The state classified the dam last week. Check the city website. I think it was just posted within the last day or two.

The city/county can either proceed accordingly or contest the ruling and provide engineering to support their claim and hope to win them over.

moelarrycurly
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H & F-been there, done that

Yup. You are right.

Spyglass
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It is the County on the hook here..

And the County is 1/3 or so Peachtree City taxpayers. The Mayor is for sure trying to get them to move on this. But she can't just wave a wand and make the County fix it tomorrow. It appears that the County drug their feet on the inspection of the spillway once the lake was lowered earlier this year.

Oh, and I still love to call it home.

moelarrycurly
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Spy

I don't know where you get your information, but you do not have the facts. I suggest everyone just take a deep breath and know what is being done will be what is best for all. The city, the county, the water customers, the residents on the lake and anyone who lives here or comes here will be very pleased with the results. An enormous amount of work is being done and the full scope of what is going on is not going to be made public, thanks to a really poorly thought out political move.

Glad we agree on the city.

Spyglass
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I used the term it "appears"

Just from my observations from the lowering of the water until it appeared to be a problem. Why it took months to see is a mystery. I have observed the cracks in the spillway for years when the water was not flowing over the spillway.

I too believe it will be fixed just fine, but it is obviously going to take them quite a while. It took the Water Authority years to fix the siding on the pump house on the same Lake.

moelarrycurly
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Cracks

Yes, however, do we know it was not documented? And if it was, where was a decision made to either not address it or delay addressing it. Was it required to be addressed by law at the time? Did any state or federal agency say it does not need to be addressed? Stay tuned on that. There is no mystery. Just facts that have not been made public yet. Or, like I have said many times, might not be made public.

This is very complex. Not as simple as many think it should be. Politicians come and go. They control the money. Staff and management come and go. They, if doing their jobs, document facts, such as cracks in spillways, get the appropriate approvals and funds and address it. Then, we have the ever changing state and federal government regulators who have such an enormous say in just about everything now. They have to deal with the ever more intrusive and complicated changes to laws made by the politicians who pass the laws. All that we value in PTC, with our strict ordinances to protect what we have here is a microcosm of how things have to proceed to get addressed on the lake. Mix in mistakes, incompetence, laziness, political correctness, lack of communication at any one of these levels, whether intentional or not, and we have...an empty lake.

Sorry to preach, but the work is getting done. It is a priority for all involved.

Yes, I remember the siding. Don't forget who was running the county, who was running the water system, who was managing the county. Like night and day from what is going on for the last year or so.

Spyglass
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The only thing I can say for sure is it wasn't fixed..

Or even addressed....I never saw ANY activity at the spillway in the last 10 years. We had plenty of years of drought where ZERO water was flowing and it could have been addressed...you saying it was? I see no evidence of that.

I realize what a mess this all is and it is not as simple as caulking the cracks and closing a valve on the Lake.

I am off soapbox and the Lake will be filled when it is filled.

Husband and Fat...
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Spy, that's what we want to believe

But then

1. Why did Rapson bring up the fact that the reservoir no longer needed?
2. Why the public letter writing campaign between the city and county (see city website)
3. Why then did the city hire an attorney?

I understand the state is involved and just gave us their ruling on the type of dam, but something doesn't feel right.

moelarrycurly
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h&f

Pardon e moi,

Let me stick my nose in here:

1) Because it's true? Do not read any threat into this, unlike at least one other has done.

2 & 3) I, too, hope the mayor answers those questions for us.

Husband and Fat...
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Just an uneasy feeling

The county manager is a sharp guy. I don't think he says something just for the heck of it.

It may not be a threat, but when the mayor has to write a letter to confirm what documents the county is referring to, it makes me think that there may be many documents floating around.

moelarrycurly
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Uneasy?

And if there are documents, why doesn't the city have their copies? Does that make you uneasy? It sure does me.

A fact is,...taaa daaa...Lake McIntosh. Who would ever dispute that changes the whole complexion of the water supply to this county? Makes sense to me.

Spyglass
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IF I didn't think the County's water demand was going to rise

in the next 30 years, I would agree that we "might" not need Lake Peachtree's water...but I don't think that way, and I do not think anyone in the County thinks that way either.

As someone who walks/carts at the Lake daily, it has been frustrating to look at. I don't claim to know all the facts. I just know what I can see.

I am glad that Haddix is not our Mayor...I will say that. That would be almost too comical/sad on these blogs for me to take.

moelarrycurly
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I am willing

to wait to hear what the professionals say about that issue. The planners, the engineers, the state, the feds, the ducks...especially the ducks. The geese, not so much, but the ducks rule.

I am going to have an ice filled glass of some very good county water with a twist of something or other and maybe a splash of something else right now. Cheers.

Gort
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I think ex-mayor Haddix could

I think ex-mayor Haddix could do a decent job playing Tattoo. Picture this, as the Grumman Widgeon circled Lake Peachtree, using his best Tattoo imitation, the ex-mayor call out from his tower,

",..Dee Plane! Dee Plane Boss! I think that pilot he drinks too much!"

I wonder if Pinewood Studio does reality shows?

johenry
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Working together

At least it seems the mayor wants to work with the county. Working together is a good thing and we don't need more histrionics out there!!!

moelarrycurly
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johenry

Working together with the county. What a concept. Now, did that decision come before or after the Class 1 notification? Did it come before or after the second attorney hired by this mayor realized the county is doing everything possible? Did it come before or after the county agreed to move the dragon boat races to Lake McIntosh?
Anyone wonder who runs this city...staff and council or Rotary. Is it the responsibility of our city government and elected to make sure the Rotary gets reimbursed for their decision to buy 6 boats at eight grand each? Oh, and Get Stoked is a bust. Has been since June 4th. So why is that in a PTC press release dated today and on the mayor's facebook page? (Better get a 3rd attorney to look into that) Another nonbooking from this over 79K (plus travel expenses all over the country) Fayette County Sports Alliance, funded by our CVB.. It is time for the FC Chamber of Commerce to take over this alliance. Make it part of the big Vision..

Husband and Fat...
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Good letter

Mayor wrote a letter dated June 18th asking the county for all the documents related to the lake. Let's see what kind of response she gets. Seems the city wants to get all the ducks in a row.

Georgie
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Island on East Side

May as well remove this island while they are at it. It was established as a money saver years ago and now has become a place frequented for after dark parties, deer, snakes, ticks and who knows what else.

Spyglass
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The Island should have never been built to begin with...

In my opinion...it was a cheap way out.

Husband and Fat...
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Island

What was the purpose of the island?

Spyglass
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So the dirt from the prior dredging

Did not have to be hauled off....

mudcat
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So you dig a hole in the middle of the lake and bury the dirt?

and then you create an island for a teen hangout? Are you kidding me? Did they actually do this? Who was in charge 10 years ago when this was done? Or was it 20 years ago? Are any of these same people still around making the decisions today? And what is taking so long with the dry dredging permit? We are a Republican County in a Republican State, so why should we have to wait for some environmental claptrap?

G35 Dude
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mudcat- Yep they did
Quote:

So you dig a hole in the middle of the lake and bury the dirt? and then you create an island for a teen hangout? Are you kidding me? Did they actually do this?

I'm afraid so mudcat. I'm afraid so.

Husband and Fat...
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That's one of the funniest stories I've heard

So, let me get this straight. Every 8-10 years the county is required to remove the dirt, silt and organic matter that washes into the lake.

Some Einstein has the great idea that instead of removing this material as promised in the agreement, they will actually pay someone Not to remove it, but to simply relocate this pile of trash displacing what should be water.

Someone, please let me know who sold this idea to the city/county. I want to to hire this salesman.

moelarrycurly
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Let's be clear here

"They" are city and county. Both approved of it. Teen hangout? As opposed to the other hundreds of acres of greenspace and wooded areas in this city to hangout?
From what I heard it was supposed to be called Fantasy Island. However, they could not find a midget to play Tattoo, so the idea was shelved. Mr. Roarke was not a happy camper.

Husband and Fat...
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Someone got sold on

The big credit.

Now, they have that silt, plus some.

Years ago, in a place far away, I watched a dredger burn the soil in large metal pipes. I believe, but I'm not sure, it was contaminated and they had to do it before removal. It probably also drys it out, so the volume is less.

Perhaps a local civil engineer can educate me on this.

Could the county / city use any fill if it was clean?

Husband and Fat...
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MLC - think the city is

Do you think the city is getting its ducks in a row to file a damage claim for lost revenue? This would explain the lawyering up.

moelarrycurly
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Ask

Mike King. Ask him who came up with this headline.

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