SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — The gorge downstream from Summersville Dam on the Gauley River will be running abnormally low this week. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials shut off the flow from the dam Tuesday and will drain the spillway tube for inspection Wednesday.
“This is a 30 foot diameter tunnel which brings the water from the lake down to the river,” said Summersville Lake Project Manager Toby Wood. “That’s what we’ll be inspecting.”
The dam’s tunnels are required to undergo the inspection once every 10 years. Originally the Corps planned to do the inspection last November when the lake was drawn down to allow for repairs on the intake gates of the structure.
“We had the lake drawn down to that inspection pool for a little over two weeks,” Wood said. “We’d planned on a two-week draw-down and we went over by two days getting all of our work done and the issue was we needed to get the pool back up.”
Wood said the longest part of the process is draining the tunnel which will take about 24 hours. The inspection only takes about two hours as engineers walk into the dark tunnels to have a look around.
“They’re mostly documenting the condition. They take a lot of photos and they have a lot of documentation from when the dam was built,” Wood said. “They’ll compare the condition now to the condition int he past.”
Wood said if the inspection shows no problems, they’ll bring the lake back up to winter pool starting Wednesday.