Specific options for permanent repairs of the Lake Forrest Dam are coming in about two months, according to City Attorney Wendell Willard.

An earthmover atop the Lake Forrest Dam in May 2016 during an earlier phase of work. (John Ruch)

The 60-year-old dam, running beneath Lake Forrest Drive on the Atlanta-Sandy Springs border, has been pegged by the state Safe Dams Program for repair work since 2009. It is among 11 local dams classed as “high-hazard” by the state, meaning that if it fails, the flood would likely kill people downstream.

After years of talks, the two city governments agreed to split the cost of repairs, with Sandy Springs leading the planning, but progress has been slow. The lake behind the dam was drained last year as part of the survey work.

On April 11, city officials and some local homeowners were called to the Safe Dams office to give an update. Safe Dams Program Manager Tom Woosley said that meeting was “very useful” in showing progress.

The cities also agreed to create an “Emergency Action Plan” for the dam by July 1. That means a plan for notifying people downstream in the event of a dam failure. Willard said that with the lake drained, there is currently no danger, but that the plan will be written.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.