Rainfall at College Lake Dam raises concerns among neighbors

Rain fell steadily on College Lake Dam on Thursday. The dam feeds directly into Blackwater Creek in Lynchburg. WDBJ7 photo.
Rain fell steadily on College Lake Dam on Thursday. The dam feeds directly into Blackwater Creek in Lynchburg. WDBJ7 photo.(WDBJ)
Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 7:02 PM EST
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College Lake Dam sits next to the University of Lynchburg.

Thursday marked another soggy day for the area, but forecasts have rainfall continuing through next week.

Some residents say the downpour is reason for concern.

"My concern is the flooding of the area, because we have the pipes next to the bridge that is, like, tremendously have a lot of trees, debris, that is just sitting underneath it," said Sharon Burns, a Lynchburg resident.

Burns has lived near Blackwater Creek more than 30 years.

That creek is fed directly from the dam, which has a tendency to cause flooding, Burns says.

"The bridge, once it gets flooded, you gotta figure out what side of the bridge you can come across and you can't come across it. It gets that flooded down through here. So you really have to really pay attention to when you're coming down through here," said Burns.

Despite those concerns, Erin Hawkins says the city is checking the dam levels in real time so if residents need to be notified about something, it will get done.

"We have that all tied to a number of alarms and sensors that give us notifications if there is cause to be concerned. Right now, we are good, we are monitoring everything, there is nothing to be concerned with at the dam," said Hawkins, City of Lynchburg's Water Quality Manager.

Hawkins also says if there are problem areas, residents can call them in to be looked at so that no problems happen during rain events like this.

"As people call them in, we send out crews to respond and do cleanup work, and do some maintenance work on those inlets to keep them clear, so that the water can flow through them," said Hawkins.

But for Burns, having family in her home is the driving emotion about her concerns.

"But I'm a concerned person cause I do have an elderly mother here. And I'm not gonna pick her up outta bed and move her to a hotel room because of this flooding down through here. That's where my concern is," said Burns.

The city says it will continue to watch the water levels as the rain keeps coming down.

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