Local News

Cameron residents consider rebuilding ruptured dam after scare

Posted April 25, 2011

— Water drained from a man-made lake in eastern Moore County on Monday, prompting flash flood warnings to be issued briefly and leaving nearby homeowners with the prospect of a costly repair.

The 15-acre lake and earthen dam were developed about 20 years ago as part of the Carolina Lake subdivision. Residents noticed Monday morning that the lake's water level had dropped precipitously overnight.

Emergency management officials said the bottom of the pipe that manages the lake level ruptured, causing water to rush out.

"The pipe looks old and rusty, so I'm assuming it's just a normal failure," said Scot Brooks, deputy director of Moore County Public Safety.

Flash flood warnings were issued for nearby portions of Moore and Lee counties because officials feared the dam would fail altogether. Forest land south and east of the dam was at the highest risk of flooding, but officials said nearby roads could be covered by water as well.

Nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution. Doris Van, who lives a few miles away, came to rescue her friend Mary Burgess.

"I couldn't leave this girl by herself," Van said. "I got up and rushed down here in case water actually did flood her home. She wouldn't have a way out."

By early afternoon, the lake level had dropped enough that the amount of water flowing through the breach in the dam began to slow, and the flood warnings were canceled.

Carolina Lake near Cameron Cameron residents consider rebuilding ruptured dam after scare

Brooks and other emergency management officials continued to monitor the situation, however, because erosion under the dam put a dirt road across the dam at risk. Officials blocked off the road to prevent vehicles from using it.

Fixing the ruptured pipe and returning the lake to normal is up to the Carolina Lake homeowners association.

"I used to live on a lakefront. Now, it's swamp front. I think it'll go downhill from here," resident Krystal Knight said.

"I don't think, as a community, we can rebuild," resident Charles Sutton said. "I don't think we can do anything. We used to have a big community meetings and stuff, but we don't do that much anymore. So, I'm not sure we can all get together and do anything.

"I know we're going to try. We're not going to give up on our lake," Sutton said.


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  • beachboater Apr 27, 2011

    Forgot to mention, somehow or other, SBA now has a security interest in all the properties on the lake. I don't think it has hurt anyone buying or selling, but it's there.

  • beachboater Apr 27, 2011

    I live on a LAKE as compared to a pond. When Hurricane Floyd dropped his rains, our dam burst. Looking at it, we figured it would cost about $250,000 to fix it. State regulators got involved and with the redesign and changes in codes, our repair bill was a bit over $1,000,000. Some grants paid the interest for a couple of years, but the note is ours for 40 years.

    But we do have a lake again, not a swamp.

  • Vietnam Vet Apr 26, 2011

    Really folks, does it really matter which lake or pond it is?? If it has a defective dam shouldn't the Army Corps of Engineers or somebody like that be taking care of the problem?

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Apr 25, 2011

    Thanking God no one or nothing was hurt or killed.

  • Mazdaspeed Apr 25, 2011

    I'm personally republican, and don't agree with most of what Obama does. But cwood how are you going to blame Obama for what happened to the oil industry before he even took office? Did you forget that a year before he took office gas was around $2.50-$2.60 average? The only reason gas started decreasing in price is because everyone started shouting "yes we can!" and magically it started decreasing right up to when he took office. When everyone realized he actually couldn't do anything to regulate oil prices gas started rising again. Gas prices are far from Obamas fault, and again, I don't support everything he stands for and I voted for McCain; so i'm far from the typical person you'd expect to say that it's not his fault.

  • Fuquay Resident Apr 25, 2011

    I just did some research online and there is no HOA at Carolina Lake. They are rules and regulations set forth by the HOA but there are no covenants or bylaws so there is no legal HOA. I think these people will be living beside some swampland for a long time.

  • Fuquay Resident Apr 25, 2011

    It looks more like Carolina Hills than Carolina Lakes. The home I see in the arial view look more like the single and double wides of Carolina Hills than the large stick build homes of Carolina Lakes.

  • shortcake53 Apr 25, 2011

    Good news for those near this area. I hope the "officials" are right.

  • Shelley Cooper Apr 25, 2011

    i blame obamacare

  • cwood3 Apr 25, 2011

    Geosol-if you were in charge, both North Carolina and the USA would have to print more money than Bev and Obama ever dreamed of printing just to stay close to solvent. Oh-I forgot, under Obama, we're going bankrupt anyway!! Ups, my bad!!

    Did I forget to mention that when Obama took office, gas was $1.87 and in some places up north, now it's over $5.00. That's great!!

    Dam inspectors would be spending most of their time on big dams anyway. Hint, too much rain causes problems with dams!!