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Essay Paper on Center Hill Dam in Smithville, Tennessee

…This paper is going to be devoted to the complementation of Center Hill Dam, its intended use and problems connected with it. It is known that the dam is considered to be a high risk project and is suffering from worsening foundation seepage. But the government is concerned and pays attention to the problem contributing into the rehabilitation effort of the dam. Seepage can cause serious damage not only to environment but also to people living in the area, and thus rehabilitation is necessary to improve the situation.

Center Hill Dam was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1948. It is 260 ft high and consists of concrete and earth structures. The dam also has 8 gates 50 ft wide each. The construction of the dam and the creation of the Center Hill Lake as a result were authorized by certain federal legislation, including the River and Harbor Act of 1946 and the Flood Control Act of 1938. The entire building process was completed in November 1948. As it has been mentioned, Center Hill Lake was created due to the dam, and it is a reservoir near Smithville, Tennessee. The purpose of the lake lies in electricity production and flood control.

The dam is a part of a project which has been designed to develop and control water resources in the basin of the Cumberland River. Center Hill Dam controls the waters of the Caney Fork River and prevents industrial, municipal, and agricultural areas downstream from flooding. As well, it does not allow the Cumberland River to flood Nashville and Carthage.

The type of this dam is concrete and earth-fill. The general length of Center Hill Dam is 3,950 ft, and the concrete section of it is 1,790 feet while earth-fill section is 2,160 feet.

The reason for the dangerous seepage is the site geology. It is known for its numerous caves, springs and sinks. “These features are typical of the soluble limestone of the region and indicative of a well-developed karst terrain.”  Moreover, not only seepage but also piping cause erosion of overlying material, causing sinkholes in it. When the designers worked on the dam project they believed that cutoff trench foundation treatment together with a single line grout curtain could guarantee seepage protection…

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