Spillway gates testing at Hartwell Dam a spectacular sight - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Spillway gates testing at Hartwell Dam a spectacular sight

HARTWELL, GA (FOX Carolina) -

It was a spectacular sight at Lake Hartwell Tuesday when the Corps of Engineers opened the spillway gates for safety testing. They ended up opening all 12 gates simultaneously despite earlier plans to only open one or two gates at a time.

Spectators, who started gathering along the spillway hours before the test were thrilled.

“It’s amazing with all that dam water being let out,” joked one man.

A woman with her family said, “It’s a rare experience to see them open the floodgates so we didn’t want to miss it.”

Stephen Peterson, Deputy Commander for Savannah District Corps of Engineers says Tuesday’s test is a flood control measure that ensures the gates work properly and can be activated in the event of an emergency.

He says, “It’s really important to us from an engineering standpoint to get this test done and really it’s a validation to the public that our equipment will operate exactly as planned in any case and any scenario.”

As for the impact of the test, Peterson says they’re lowering the water level by less than a quarter of an inch so there's not much of an impact for Lake Hartwell. But it is a crucial test that must be performed to comply with the Corps of Engineers’ Dam Safety Program.

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