VASS TOWNSHIP, NC (WTVD) -- Owners of the maligned Woodlake Dam were issued yet another new order from North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality.
The Dam Safety Order (DSO) mandates that the owners must have their engineers begin work on a temporary breach of the dam begin by December 8 and be completed by March 1, 2017. Additionally, the DSO gives the dam owners 91 days from the order's issue for engineers to submit complete plans for the repair of the dam. If those orders are not met, the owners could face fines of up to $500 a day.
An ABC11 I-Team investigation revealed a history of negligence on the part of the owners - German investors Ingolf Boex and Illya Steiner - and a failure on the part of the DEQ to enforce the many DSOs and notices delivered over the past decade.
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Hurricane Matthew exposed the dangers of that neglect when crews found a ruptured spillway, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. The National Guard was called in a frenzy to plug the leak with sandbags.
As the I-Team also reported, the risk of impending breach forced the DEQ and FEMA to bring in pumps to drain the lake and reduce pressure on the failing dam.
The result has been the disappearance of Woodlake, which was a desired spot for waterfront properties. The lake was once home to fish, frogs, flora, fauna and many species of birds.
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The Woodlake owners have ignored repeated requests for comment, as has the Woodlake manager, Julie Wilson.
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