Appalachian Power adds equipment to clean up Leesville and Smith Mountain lakes

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:22 PM EDT
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LEESVILLE LAKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Right before the unofficial start of summer and boating season, Appalachian Power is investing in new equipment to keep waterways clean in our hometowns.

As part of shoreline management, Appalachian Power has a responsibility to keep Leesville and Smith Mountain lakes clean and safe.

This new equipment is going to help crews do just that. The company recently purchased a new work boat that will be similar to one for Smith Mountain Lake.

“It will be used primarily to help us do debris surveys after we have an event; we can kinda go out and look and see where our debris loading is heaviest and determine where we need to best deploy our crews to work, and it also helps us with solitary debris removal items such as larger logs in places where our barge might not be able to get into. We can actually hook up with that and pull it out to the barge for removal that way,” said Mark McGlothlin, Plant Support Specialist Senior.

“It gives us better transportation, better travel up and down the lake; it pulls the bigger logs and trees better and it’s also a backup push boat for us if our push boat goes down on the barge,” said Cortland Frederick, reservoir equipment operator senior.

The company also made a barge, which primarily operates on Leesville Lake, bigger to help carry more debris.

Crews say improvements to the equipment they use will have an impact on everyone who lives on and visits the lakes.

“We want to make sure that we keep navigation safe for the boating public, the recreation public, and hopefully there won’t be any accidents due to the debris that could come into the lake,” said McGlothlin.

In the first few months of this year, crews have removed more than 1,300 tons of debris from Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes.

“I think it’s a big deal to keep it clean. There’s a lot of people that travel from all over the United States to the Smith Mountain Project, whether it be Leesville or Smith Mountain… It’s a beautiful place to live and I’d like to see it kept clean,” said Frederick.

Property owners can report lake debris here.