Cumberland Times-News

April 10, 2013

With problems solved, W.Va. dam gates close

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— SCHERR, W.Va. — The gates at New Creek Dam Site 14 have been closed and as of Tuesday morning the dam was being filled, according to Andy Deichert, civil engineer with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Discrepancies over the riser and the breast of the dam kept the gates from being closed. The discrepancies have been resolved, according to Deichert.

“After some initial analysis early in the year, the engineers looked at the as-built condition of the dam and NRCS looked in-house and determined the as-built condition meets the design intent,” said Deichert.

The reservoir is being filled at the upper end with water from Linton Creek, a tributary to New Creek, and the time it takes to fill will depend on whether it rains or not, according to Deichert.

Deichert said that the plan was to fill the impoundment up to the gate on the riser 15 feet above the current water level and hopefully to have the level up to the upper gate by sometime next week.

“We think we will have full pull by summer,” said Deichert.

The closing of the gates was delayed because there were some quality control issues with the riser and the top of the level of the breast of the dam, which was about an inch short.

The $10 million dam rehabilitation project was done by Gannett Fleming Inc. of Pittsburgh.

In September 2010, the rehabilitation contract was awarded.

Work done on the dam includes replacement of the reinforced concrete riser intake structure; realignment and reinforcement of the auxiliary spillway using roller-compacted concrete; installation of a downstream toe and chimney drainage system; and flattening of the upstream and downstream slopes, according to the NRCS website.

The final completion of the dam was done by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

 The stream flows in a northeasterly direction along state Route 93 and U.S. Routes 50 and 220, through the city of Keyser, where it joins the North Branch of the Potomac River.

The dam provides flood control for downstream areas and water supply to Keyser.

Last year, the city had to declare a state of emergency because the New Creek Dam Site 14, which generally provides a backup supply of water, was out of service. The city was able to fix the problem by laying a water pipeline that extended 6,600 feet and ran from the Potomac River side of New Creek.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.