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About 528 tons of mostly woody debris has been taken out of the Roanoke River arm alone.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Heavy precipitation in late January helped raise water levels at Smith Mountain Lake but also scoured the banks of tributaries feeding the lake.
In recent weeks, a contractor working for Appalachian Power Co. has removed about 528 tons of mostly woody debris from the Roanoke River arm of Smith Mountain Lake, according to the utility.
Appalachian generates electricity at a dam in the gap of Smith Mountain.
In a news release Tuesday, Teresa Rogers, process supervisor for Hydro Generation Appalachian Power, said that when high water follows drought conditions "it often washes trees, limbs, trash and other debris into the reservoir."
Rogers added, "This year it's washed even more floating debris into the lake than normal because the water rose so quickly and with such force."
Appalachian operates the Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Project under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The license makes the utility responsible for removing debris from navigational channels on the lake when certain conditions arise.
Rogers said that cleanup crews have so far "found significantly less man-made debris than in years past," a situation she described as "a testament to the volunteer river cleanup efforts upstream in recent years."
Appalachian said the contractor will finish up on the Roanoke River arm and then move to the Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes.
The utility advised boaters to "use safe boating practices and watch for floating and submerged debris, especially this time of year."
Rogers said it is impossible for the company's contractor "to remove every piece of floating debris that enters the lake."
Details on the Debris Management Plan, including information about how to report debris problems, can be found at www.smithmtn.com.
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