Tryon approves contract to inspect dam

Published 2:17 pm Thursday, October 17, 2019

Town hires Cranston Engineering for Lake Lanier

LAKE LANIER—The Town of Tryon is getting the dam at Lake Lanier inspected. 

Tryon Town Council met Tuesday night and unanimously approved hiring Cranston Engineering, out of Augusta, Ga. 

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Town Manager Zach Ollis said the town had asked for a 30-day extension, which the state of South Carolina granted and the town received two bids. The other bid came from a smaller company, Garner Engineering, out of Fairview, N.C. 

Ollis recommended Cranston and said he estimates the town can get the inspection done for between $10,000 and $18,000. 

During citizen comments, Lake Lanier resident Allen Smith said there seems to be concern about the dam and asked if there are integrity issues with it. 

Ollis said the town is being required by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to do an inspection because of the age and the size of the dam. 

Smith asked if the public will be able to see the inspection, saying not everyone gets the Tryon Daily Bulletin. 

Ollis said the inspection will be available to the public. 

Smith also asked if the town could apply for a grant to do any work on the lake. 

Commissioner Crys Armbrust said the lake is in a different state. 

Smith asked about a federal grant since the lake is a reservoir. 

“It seems like that is something you should look into,” Smith said. 

Ollis said Cranston will showcase what may be issues with the dam and will also help the town with any grant applications needed. Ollis also said federal grants are out there, but they are very hard to come by. 

“We will let you know everything that comes from the inspection,” Ollis said. 

Commissioner Bill Crowell said a $2-$3 million repair bill scares him to death. 

Crowell also told Lake Lanier residents in attendance that they should be negotiating with Greenville County to maintain the lake as it is their property values that are at stake. Crowell mentioned a boat accident there with no enforcement on the lake and said jet skis need to go away. He said Lake Adger does not permit anything recreational except for boat riding because it is a small lake, and Lake Lanier is smaller than Lake Adger. 

The South Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission used to provide enforcement on Lake Lanier, but in the 1990s deemed the lake private and no longer provides enforcement. 

The Town of Tryon owns the lakebed of Lake Lanier, which is located just over the South Carolina line in Greenville County. The town uses the lake for its water source. Town officials have recently discussed abandoning the lake source for water and using its mountain water source solely. The Lake Lanier dam was constructed in 1924.