State studying whether to use warning sirens for damaged dam

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – State officials are studying whether to install outdoor sirens that could warn people of a breach in a leaking dam that holds back Lake Cumberland in south-central Kentucky.

The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security issued a “request for information” last week, with the goal of getting guidance about how many sirens would be needed and what they would cost, said Jason Keller, a spokesman for the office.

The state will use that information in deciding whether to go forward with a siren system that could warn people in Russell, Clinton, Cumberland and Monroe counties of an emergency. The solicitation period closes May 9.

Wolf Creek Dam has been deemed at high risk of failing because of leaks under its foundation of the earthen part of the mile-long structure.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is keeping the lake’s water level lower than usual this year to ease pressure on the dam while a contractor injects liquid cement into the dam to stem leaks.

The corps has said the dam is not at imminent risk of failing, and that if a breach did happen, there would be adequate time to warn people downstream.