Clean water and peaceful surroundings have led hundreds of people to make Ivy Lake in Bedford County their home.

"We've enjoyed the beauty of it and the wildlife associated with it," said David Roberson, who has lived at the lake since it was constructed nearly 30 years ago.

It wasn't until last year that Roberson learned his beloved waterway was a hazard.

"I would have to say we were not pleased at all about that," Roberson said.

Not pleased, because fixing the safety risk carries a hefty price tag: nearly $3-million.

"To find out that was a possibility was something that really upset us," said Roberson.

The dam that holds back Ivy Lake is made of dirt.  State regulators believe a concrete spillway should be installed, to maintain the flow of water in the event of flooding.

When Roberson learned about that requirement, he did a little research.  He's a retired engineer and felt the state's regulations were unnecessary.

"It's a huge burdon being placed on one particular capital asset, which I think is not justified," Roberson said.

State officials believe the dam should be able to withstand a large scale weather event: more 30-inches of rain falling at one time.  That happened in 1969 when Hurricane Camille devastated Nelson County, but that was a rare event that experts say only occurs once every 1-thousand years.

"It's really a highly unlikely event," said Lee Beaumont, vice president for auxillary services at Liberty University, which owns the lake.

LU has spent more than $100,000 dollars to study the Ivy Lake dam.  It believes the structure is safe and that the state is taking its rules too far.

"It's very a unreasonable expectation that we're going to receive that amount of rain in that short of a time," Beaumont said.

"You really can't plan or prepare for every possible environmental situation that might arise," said Roberson, who joined his fellow homeowners in penning a letter to Governor Bob McDonnell.

The Ivy Lake group is asking the Governor to repeal the safety regulations or make an exception for existing dams.

"We're hoping the Governor will come in and instruct people to do things that make sense," Roberson said.

Ivy Lake isn't the only one effected by these regulations.  At least 15 others around the state are facing the same issue right now.

Roberson says changing the regulations would save around a billion dollars, by avoiding costly repairs to dams that are currently out of compliance.

Click here to read a letter to Governor McDonnell about dam regulations.