Meridian, Miss. Lauderdale County leaders say they are working with Meridian city leaders to find a way to avoid draining a local reservoir.
District 5 supervisor Kyle Rutledge says he has been in contact with Meridian city council members, as well as the offices of Congressman Gregg Harper and Senator Thad Cochran. Rutledge says conversations between the city and the county will determine what sort of funding the county can contribute to fixing the Long Creek Dam.
"I've talked to and polled the supervisors," Rutledge explains. "We've offered manpower and equipment to work to help the city in any way we can."
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality notified the city of Meridian that the dam is not up to par and must be repaired or breached. MDEQ also says the dam is a hazard to properties in the area. Due to lack of funding at this time, the city says it has no choice but to breach it.
"There's been seepage from the toe of the dam for quite some time," Meridian Public Works director Hugh Smith points out. "The spillway itself has also begun to deteriorate. The bottom line is the dam is not structurally sound."
Despite this, the news of the Long Creek Reservoir being drained still isn't sitting well with many in the area. In fact, supervisor Rutledge says he has received calls from people all over the county about it. He says the reservoir is also a special place for him personally.
"I caught my first fish there when I was four or five-years old," Rutledge remembers. "And, it's just a beautiful place."
"Just because we're at this juncture today, doesn't mean that our intent is to walk away from that site," Smith stresses.
The city expects the reservoir to be completely drained sometime in August.