Tennessee Valley Authority reinforces Bear Creek Dam

Tennessee Valley Authority is rehabilitating its 68-foot-tall, 1,385-foot-long Bear Creek Dam to stop excessive leakage through the structure’s foundation.

The earthen dam impounds water for flood control, recreation, and municipal water supply in northwest Ala�bama. Water has leaked through the dam’s foundation since its completion in 1969.

Following heavy rainfall, its reservoir could rise, increasing the risk of dam failure. To reduce that risk, TVA prepared an environmental impact statement to evaluate alternatives for a long-term solution.

TVA released the EIS in August 2007 and a month later issued a record of decision stating it would build a roller-compacted-concrete structure at the downstream toe of the dam and a cutoff wall under the new structure to block water from passing beneath the dam.

Site preparation work began in September 2007, followed by dewatering and excavation. Completion of the rehabilitation project is scheduled for June 2009. TVA has said construction costs could total $35 million.

By rehabilitating the dam, TVA expects to operate the reservoir at an elevation of 576 feet in the summer, which is the pool level called for in original designs. TVA also will incorporate new minimum flows in Bear Creek downstream of the dam to improve habitat of endangered species.

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