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Questions about dam safety cloud future of Ivy Lake

By Joe Dashiell, jdashiell@wdbj7.com
Published On: Aug 14 2013 01:09:32 AM EDT
Ivy Lake
BEDFORD CO., Va. -

On a sunny summer afternoon, Ivy Lake provides a postcard perfect view of Bedford County, but an engineering study suggests the emergency spillway there could erode during an extreme weather event and cause the dam to fail.

Robert Bennett is Virginia's Director of Dam Safety. " We all share a common goal," Bennett told the audience at Jefferson Forest High School Tuesday night. "Nobody here, nobody, wants a dam to fail.'

With 300 homes downstream, Bennett said allowing the dam to fail is simply not an option.  Bennett said he remains hopeful for a solution that will protect the dam's owner Liberty University, homeowners on the Lake, and others downstream.

Residents of the area came looking for information, and some indication that progress is possible.

Marty Guidice has lived on Ivy Lake for more than 20 years.  He said he's hopeful "that it comes to a common sense solution, and we get rid of these extreme positions by any and all parties, that benefits the community and the lake. "

Gary Reynolds has alos lived on the lake for more than two decades. "So whether it be dam safety, airport safety or highway safety at some point i think some common sense has to enter into the enforcement of the rules and regulations."

And Reynolds also notes that what happens here, could play out in lake communities across the Commonwealth. There are more than 300 dams that fall under the same rules and regulations as the one at Ivy Lake.