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One of the main purposes for Lake Lanier is flood control. As Georgia just experienced the largest flood in the last 30-50 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued to let water out of the lake into the Chattahoochee River at a significant rate, adding to the flooding conditions downstream.
The water released and power generated that is listed on the corps' Web site is counter to The Times Story of Sept. 23, in which a corps official indicated power generation at Buford Dam was stopped due to the flood. The web site shows the discharge rate for Sept. 18-22 was 670-686 cfs and the power generated ranges from 158-169 mwh. Once on the site, click on historical project data to see the discharges and generated records.
The average rate for August 2009 was 1,022 cfs. So they are discharging at 65 percent of the August average during the flood. The Sept. 22 release rate was 135 percent of what was released as recently as April 10 this year and 151 percent of the release rate of March 15, 2008. It is 283 percent of what was released on Dec. 31, 1998, and 324 percent of Feb. 3, 1982.
On Sept. 22, Lake Lanier was still more than three feet below full pool so the water could easily be held in the lake instead of adding to the flood downstream.
I think the corps will say that the water was released only to provide power for internal operations. This is unacceptable. In flood conditions, they should pay for power off the grid to operate and not release any water to reduce the flood as much as possible.
The flood caused a shutdown of the Interstate 285 bridge across the Chattahoochee. It also flooded the main septic treatment plant for Atlanta on the river, causing vast amounts of raw sewage to be dumped into the river for some time.
This is not the worst of it as many lives were lost to the flood and a great deal of damage was done to bridges, roadways, schools and private property.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has let Georgia down, again.
Check the facts; all of our area is in a flood plain
While Jane Browder's premise in her letter on the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers policies lacking any common sense is sound the opening salvo should never have been printed by a responsible news organization.
The logic that flood damage is going to be devastating for property owners since most don't have flood insurance is inarguably true. However, the claim that most weren't in a flood plain to even be eligible for federal flood insurance is untrue.
Everyone in Northeast Georgia is in a flood plain; just read your Old Testament. Those with federally backed mortgages in 1 percent, or 100-year, flood plains are required by law to purchase coverage. Most of us are in the 500-year, or biblical, zone X and can get really cheap insurance unless our community has elected to not participate in the program, at which point they would not be eligible for any disaster assistance.
The local cable channel runs the PSA about flood insurance every week. You know, the one with the clueless father reading the newspaper as a flood fills his house.
So now instead of this teachable moment of why people not in the shaded flood map areas identified specifically as a special flood hazard should consider NFIP coverage, your readers will instead add to the amen chorus of how incompetent those managing Lake Lanier have proven to be.