Oktibbeha engineers request additional pumps to lower water levels at County Lake Dam

OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – It is a battle against time and the elements in Oktibbeha County.

Thursday marked day three since the discovery of a mudslide on County Lake Road after an impromptu inspection.

Since the discovery of the mudslide, engineers have been monitoring the dam by the hour to avoid an even bigger issue, serious flooding to homes in the area.

Thursday, engineers briefed county supervisors and delivered a plan.

“With the assistance of the Corp of Engineers, we’re requesting that they come in with a series of pumps,” said Clyde Pritchard, Oktibbeha County Engineer. “And that will help us evacuate the lake – lower the lake level. If we’re successful in doing that, depending on rainfall, then we’re going to go in the intake structure that is within the lake – then we’re going to demolish that down to a level that essentially will dry the lake up and we won’t let the lake come up to a level again that could threaten the dam,” said Oktibbeha County engineer Clyde Pritchard.

The Oktibbeha Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of bringing in additional pumps. Once those pumps arrive, County Lake Road will then be closed.

“Once the pumping of the water is complete – we will then go down and asses the dam itself – along with cutting the outlet off. And once that’s been done – we’ll make a determination then whether to reopen the county lake dam,” said Marvell Howard, 3rd District Supervisor.

Engineers have asked everyone to stay away from the area at all times.

“Everybody is curious. But we really don’t need sight-seers. We got a good amount of people – we got MEMA out there, we got my people out there,” said Pritchard. You can’t really turn around on the dam and these people are focused on looking at the things they need to be looking at and we really just don’t need the general public out there sightseeing.”

At the moment, engineers are waiting on the Corp of Engineers to let them know how many pumps are available, and how many pumps it will take to help lower the water past the danger level.

Eventually, these supervisors say they will have to address possibly draining the entire lake, rebuilding the levee – and the money to pay for that project.

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