Hope Mills Dam
|Hope Mills Dam|
Hope Mills Dam and drained lake, June 2010
|Location||Hope Mills, Cumberland County, North Carolina|
|Construction cost||$9.8 million|
|Owner(s)||Town of Hope Mills|
|Dam and spillways|
|Type of dam||Concrete gravity|
|Impounds||Little Rockfish Creek|
|Height||33 ft (10 m)|
|Length||750 ft (230 m)|
|Spillway type||Chute, labyrinth|
|Spillway capacity||10,240 cu ft/s (290 m3/s)|
|Creates||Hope Mills Lake|
|Total capacity||816 acre·ft (1,007,000 m3)|
|Catchment area||94.4 sq mi (244 km2)|
|Surface area||88 acres (0.36 km2)|
The Hope Mills Dam, also known as Hope Mills Dam #1, is a failed concrete gravity dam on Little Rockfish Creek in Hope Mills, North Carolina, USA, which created Hope Mills Lake. Three different dams were built on the site including the current one. The first dam, of rock-crib design, was built in 1839 to power local cotton mills. The second was an embankment dam built in 1924 for powering the mills and later to maintain the lake's water level. Both previous dams failed from flooding. The current dam failed in June 2010 after a leak was discovered and the lake was drained.
The first Hope Mills Dam was a rock-crib dam and was built in 1839 by the Rockfish Mills Co. for the powering of four cotton mills nearby. In 1865, General Sherman and Union Army troops burned the cotton mills but spared the dam from destruction. After the American Civil War, two mills were rebuilt and the surrounding area including the dam was named Hope Mills. On May 9, 1923 this first dam was breached by a flood and construction on an earthen-embankment dam began the same year. Rockfish Mills Co. again constructed the dam with designs from Mees Consulting Engineers of Charlotte and the actual construction by the Scott-Stewart Jones Co. The second dam cost $27,093 and was completed in early 1924.
In 1930, Rockfish Mills Co. went bankrupt and was not bought until 1941 by Dixie Yarns. Dixie Yarns eventually gave the dam to the town in 1984. In 1993, a two-lane Lakeview Road bridge was installed over the dam and at the same time a leak in the dam was repaired. In 1994, an unused turbine shaft from the old cotton mill site was uncovered and filled with cement. In addition, walls behind the dam's spillway were reinforced with rock after concerns were voiced about their strength. Hurricane Floyd brought heavy rains in 1999 which, after concerns of a dam breach, forced the opening of the floodgates. In 2001, a 6-foot (1.8 m) crack was repaired that engineers had determined was not structural. Later in 2001, the dam passed safety inspection but two small holes and some eroded concrete was repaired in 2002.
2003 failure and reconstruction
In late May 2003, over Memorial Day weekend, heavy rains caused the embankment dam to give way and also destroyed 30 feet (9.1 m) of the nearby Lakeview Road. About 40 homes and 1600 people downstream were evacuated as water from Hope Mills Lake rushed down the creek causing $2.1 million in damages before making its way to the Cape Fear River. One of the floodgates on the dam had failed to open because of the pressure exerted by the flood waters, which helped push water over the top of the dam. Later in 2003, Lakeview Road was repaired and plans for the repair of the dam were underway. After four years of fund and permit requests, construction on the new $9.8 million Hope Mills Dam began in March 2007. Crowder Construction Company was awarded the contract to construct the dam along with designs from Mactec, Morrison Engineers. The new dam would essentially be a concrete labyrinth-spillway that would expand the dam's ability to discharge flood waters. The new dam would be 600 feet (180 m) longer and would incorporate a fish ladder as well. Construction of the new Hope Mills Dam was complete in June 2008 and the lake was again full by August.
In June 2010, engineers noticed erosion and sediment building around the dam and decided to release two-feet of water from the lake. While releasing water, part of the dam's foundation gave way causing a sinkhole and the lake to drain. Repairs for the dam were expected to begin in August 2012 and end October 2013. A lawsuit was filed by the town in mid-October 2012, complaining that the companies involved were delaying the repairs which had yet to begin. In April 2013 Mayor Jackie Warner requested a plan to remove the dam but the town sued the builders for $10 million in May in order to pay for repairs.
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- Gillis, Stacey (3 April 2013). "Hope Mills board approves county mayors' plan for sales tax revenues". The Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- "North Carolina Town Files $10M Suit Over 2010 Dam Failure". Insurance Journal. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.