“It’s a real success story.” Those were the words of Ralph Faris, one of the neighbors attending the Aug. 30 opening of the Emerald Lake dam and spillway on Emerald Lake Drive southeast of Fayetteville.

Above, county staff and officials (including county commission Chairman Eric Maxwell cutting the ribbon and Commissioner Chuck Oddo nearby at left), project representatives and a group of neighbors attended the Aug. 30 ribbon cutting for the $3 million Emerald Lake Dam project funded by 2017 SPLOST (special purpose local options sales tax) dollars. The new dam and spillway southeast of Fayetteville was designed to meet Category 1 dam standards. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Faris was one of a number of neighbors on hand for the ribbon-cutting that signified the completion of the nearly $3 million project that replaced and upgraded the dam and spillway along Emerald Lake Drive.

County Public Works Director Phil Mallon said the construction included a 40-foot labyrinth weir, placement of a bridge over the weir, roadway reconstruction, installation of a new riser pipe and comprehensive drain system and stabilization.

The project was funded by 2017 SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) revenues.

Structural issues that developed over the years led to the need for the replacement, Mallon said, adding that the new dam and spillway were designed to meet the state’s Category 1 standards.

Mallon thanked project participants, county staff and area residents for making the project a success.

“Everybody involved did a superb job,” said Faris. “Everything turned out better than I could have hoped for.”

Neighbor Jimmy Huff agreed, commending work crews, and especially county crews, for a tremendous effort.


  1. Not a private dam. As I understand it, Fayette Co owns and operates the dam. I don’t know if the original dam existed before or after the subdivision was built. If the subdivision came after the dam, the Libertarian who lives between my ears, informs me that the County should have had the developer assume responsibility and downstream costs to be passed on to the subdivision residents. That however is water over the dam! Groan 🙂