AEP continues to remove debris from Smith Mountain Lake

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 12:37 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2020 at 12:37 PM EDT
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MONETA, Va. (WDBJ) - In 2019, AEP collected 6,000 tons of debris, making it a record year.

So far for 2020, they’ve already collected 4,500 tons, which means the 6,000 figure will be surpassed.

But taking an excavator and digging out all the debris is not as simple as you might think. For one, the process is extremely time-consuming.

“So we’ve been working the last 6-8 weeks, mostly 6 days a week with our 3 crews, our two AEP crews and our one contract crew trying to get the debris up, but there’s just tons and tons and tons of debris!” said George Porter, a spokesperson with AEP.

Starting in Moneta and driving all the way toward Penhook, AEP observes the main channels, the coves, and the shoreline at least once a month, but sometimes more, especially after a lot of rain.

And while noting where the debris is, is important, the removal can only happen so fast.

“The boat only moves about 4 or 5 mph and once they get to the point where they start removing it they can only carry about 40 tons, that’s 80 thousand pounds, and we talk about the month of may, we did over 1,700 tons,” said Porter.

That’s where homeowners can play a big role. If you see debris near your property and can get to it safely, AEP asks that you put it in an open area, where the trash barge can get it, if you’re not able to dispose of it yourself.

Boaters also need to have patience, especially as the Fourth of July approaches, but should look out for the reports from AEP about where the most amount of debris remains.

“We’re not going to be able to tell everyone where every log is, most important thing about that is, we’re doing this survey today, tomorrow this debris could be in a totally different location,” said Porter.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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