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Corps issues warning on Buford Dam releases
An increased number of river rescues prompts action
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Buford Dam releases

Chattahoochee River visitors can get water release information at 770-945-1466. For more information or questions about river safety, call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 770- 945-9531.


An increased number of Chattahoochee River rescues has prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a warning about Buford Dam water releases.

"As hotter temperatures continue to rise, more people are using local rivers and reservoirs to cool off and to fish," according to a statement released Thursday by Corps spokeswoman Lisa Coghlan.

"Local emergency responders are making more rescues on the Chattahoochee River when releases are made from Buford Dam," she added.

The corps is working with the National Park Service, city and county governments, marinas, schools and non-government agencies "to get the word out about water safety," Coghlan said.

The Chattahoochee River from Buford Dam downstream to Atlanta is popular for trout fishing, tubing and boating, but users need to take extreme caution.

The river "can change quickly from a serene slow-moving river to a swift and treacherous river when water is released at Buford Dam," Coghlan said.

"During a water release, the river can rise up to 11 feet within a matter of minutes with the force of over 12,000 cubic feet of water per second."

People entering the river between the dam and the Ga. 20 bridge should wear life jackets, Coghlan advised.

Warning horns along the 3-mile stretch are sounded when water is released from the dam.

"Exit the river immediately if you hear these warning horns," Coghlan said.

Water release schedules can change, but visitors can get updated information by tuning their radio to 1610 AM or calling the phone number.

Visitors also should be aware of the effects of hypothermia, Coghlan said.

Water released at the dam averages 44 to 58 degrees year-round. When exposed to these temperatures, exhaustion or unconsciousness can occur in 30 to 60 minutes. Waders are recommended for anyone wading and proper clothing is recommended for anyone tubing or boating.