‘Two decades of frustration’
A town hall meeting was held at the Harlan County Courthouse on Tuesday, addressing a pair of ongoing issues in Loyall, including a problem with ponding.
In a previous report, Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said the meeting would include an update on the Corps of Engineers’ status regarding the design process for correcting the two-decades plus ponding issue along the Cumberland River.
“They asked the county to implement a new maintenance plan on the ponding area, which we did,” Mosley explained. “We’ll be showcasing what we did to try to get the channel to work correctly. Basically, what we implemented helped the situation with generating clean water into the area, but it has not helped to create enough flow out of the channel to drain it.”
During the town hall meeting, Mosley provided a presentation explaining what the county has done to address the ponding issue.
“The Corps has contended the lagoon area was not maintained properly over the course of the last 15 years,” Mosley told the town hall attendees. “We implemented a new plan over the last 18 months to try to get it to the point where they felt like it would be maintained properly.”
Following Mosley’s presentation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative Craig Carrington spoke about the ponding issue.
“Last year, Judge Mosley asked us to come in and we stood there and looked at it and talked about it with him,” Carrington said. “We talked about exactly the concerns that he had.”
Carrington said a request was then made to initiate a design deficiency study on the ponding area. After several months, the study was approved. As soon as the funds were made available, the study began.
“That work is continuing,” Carrington said. “What we’re going to do is investigate the flow through the channel.”
Carrington provided a timeline of events leading to the study:
• Original Cumberland River channel was designed to be a flow-through area during construction of the diversion channel in the 1990s;
• The Corps met with Mosley to discuss the concern that the flow-through area was not operating properly;
• The Nashville District puts in request to initiate a study of potential design deficiency;
• Received approval to conduct a deficiency study;
• Funding to begin study was received in October.
Several Loyall residents provided first-person views on the situation with the ponding for consideration by the Corps.
Following a lengthy discussion, Mosley closed the meeting.
“It is essentially two decades of frustration,” Mosley said, summing up the situation. “I understand the way you all feel…I don’t think it was ever maintained the way the Corps thought it should be maintained …now they see we’ve made a commitment to maintain it…we want it fixed.”