Local News

Crews Continue To Repair State Dams In Floyd's Wake

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GOLDSBORO — Many of the state's dams took a beating by Hurricane Floyd. Repairs have been going on since the storm.

When Hurricane Floyd ripped through the state a year and a half ago, it destroyed 40 dams and caused others to overflow. Two dams in the Sleepy Creek community near Goldsboro was among those on Floyd's hit list.

State Dam Safety Engineer Jim Leumas says those dams -- along with others in Wayne, Lenoir, and Greene counties -- suffered the most damage.

"Hurricane Dennis had come just through just a couple of weeks before Hurricane Floyd and put down an excessive amount of rainfall. It saturated the land," he says.

One of the Sleepy Creek dams qualified for repair funding. Close to $500,000 in state grants will help communities rebuild their private dams or destroy and drain those that cannot be fixed.

"It is intended to try to protect public safety as far as homes and heavily traveled roads that might cause loss of life or significant property damage if one of these dams were to fail," he says.

Leumas says it may take another year before all these dams get repaired or drained, but it will be worth the wait.

"We will definitely be in better condition for these dams and other dams that have been repaired," he says. "These dams will be brought up to current state standards and should be able to accommodate storms similar to Hurricane Floyd."

The state says there are about 5,000 dams across North Carolina. A majority of them are private. They have a variety of uses: recreation, flood control, water supply, and even hydro-power.