Savannah, Ga. --
Dam safety officials from the Savannah District, U.S Army Corps of Engineers will test the spillway gates at two hydropower dams on the Savannah River next week.
On Wednesday, June 2, beginning at 1 p.m., teams will test all the spillway gates at the J. Strom Thurmond Dam north of Augusta, Georgia. The test will last approximately 45 minutes. Gates will open only about 1 foot. All gates will be open during most of the test.
On Thursday, June 3, beginning at 9:30 a.m., teams will conduct a similar test on the spillway gates at the Hartwell Dam near Hartwell, Georgia, and Anderson, South Carolina. This test will last approximately 30 minutes.
The public may attend both tests but must stay out of the water downstream of the dams due to strong currents and heavy turbulence. Based on past tests, crowds are expected. Social precautions should be taken. Drones are not allowed near or above the dams, including in adjoining parks.
For the Thurmond Dam test, the public may park at either Below Dam Georgia or Below Dam South Carolina. Motorists must not park on public roads or on the dam. Visitors may also view the test from the public sidewalk atop the dam on the downstream side.
For the test at Hartwell Dam, visitors may park at Big Oaks Recreation Area in Georgia and walk the paved trail to near the dam. Visitors may also park at the SC Dam Viewing Area or Overlook Area on the South Carolina side and walk the paved trail to the dam. Visitors may also observe the test from designated areas below the dam on the Georgia side. The Georgia River Recreation Area and below dam fishing pier will be closed during the test due to high water. Corps park rangers will be available to direct parking along the access road to the Hartwell Power Plant and local authorities will enforce the “no parking and no stopping” laws on state highways and bridges.
“We chose these specific dates to mark National Dam Safety Awareness Day, May 31,” Lucia Newberry, Dam and Levee Safety Program Manager for the Savannah District, said. “These required safety tests ensure the gates will function properly in the event high water events require an emergency release for safety.”
While the releases give a spectacular view, the actual effect of the releases on reservoir levels is minimal. The reservoirs undergoing the tests are currently above full summer levels.
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