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Engineer: Dam project could cost more than $1M

PURVIS — A Lamar County engineer says a property owners association could be looking at a $1-million price tag to return a dam in the Lake Serene system of lakes to Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality standards.

“We’re hoping that won’t be the case, but it could,” engineer Don Walker said last week.

Damage to the dam was done when rains from last year’s Hurricane Isaac saturated the earthen barrier between Oak Grove and Stump lakes in the Lake Serene system, according to The Hattiesburg American.

“It was simply the amount of rain,” Emergency Management Agency director James Smith said at the time. “The dam, it’s at a pretty steep grade, and the weight of the soil became so heavy, it just slid down the side.”

The dam never was breached, but the weakened area was a major concern. A street has been closed and the water level on a105-acre lake was lowered to take pressure off the embankment.

Walker said the Lake Serene Property Owners Association was considering options, and working on a plan that will be submitted to MDEQ for approval.

Once the state approves, bids would be sought and work would begin.

“You’re looking at some time in the spring, most likely,” Walker said. “You don’t want to do it in the winter, not with the weather.”

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