Archived Story

Army Corps of Engineers to finish lake cleanup today

Published 3:29pm Monday, July 25, 2011

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished its mission on Lake Martin today, July 26, three days ahead of its July 29 deadline.

The mission to remove waterway debris from Lake Martin areas affected by the April 27 tornado cleanup started the week of June 13.

“The final closeout between the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Alabama will officially be (Tuesday),” said Lisa Coghlan, external affairs officer with the Corps Recovery Field Office.

Coghlan said the Corps last pickup of debris was on Civitan Road in Dadeville, bringing the total amount of debris from Lake Martin to 15,157 cubic yards.

“We used sonar (to find the debris) and worked all around within the entire boundary of the lake as well as the coves,” she said.

Coghlan said their mission is now complete, picking up debris at between 14 and 18 feet below the water’s surface.

In a previous article written by The Outlook, the Corp said that to remove the debris from the lake crews used a rig that consists of a small barge and an extended reach trackhoe. The trackhoe uses its clamshell bucket to pick up the debris and it piles it onto the back of its barge.

The bucket then reaches into the lake, grabs the bottom and pulls the barge along as it moves along the shore.

A larger barge pushed by a boat collects debris from the smaller barges and delivers it to a larger backhoe at a collection point on the bank.

Debris is taken to one of two collection points – Civitan Track or Bear Bryant Point – before the construction demolition material is transferred to a landfill and the vegetative debris is taken to a facility to be chipped.

“They’re chipping it and they’re grinding it and then they’re just recycling it in a bunch of different ways,” said Sara Corbett, public affairs specialist for the Corps.

Crews removed both floating and submerged debris down to 473 feet above mean sea level, which is seven feet below the lake’s winter pool level.

“We’re going 18 feet below what the water level is now down, so when it’s winter and they drop the water table it will still be below that 7-foot project,” said Lee Willis, resident engineer for Tallapoosa and Elmore counties.

All in all, Coghlan said it feels wonderful to have completed the Corps mission on Lake Martin.

“It was a lot of work,” she said. “We’ve worked very close with the contractors and those on the field and to stay safe and we’re proud of the job that we did.”