More pumps coming in to lower Oktibbeha County Lake, prevent dam failure

Oktibbeha County Lake is located northwest of Starkville.

They hope to lower the water level by at least five feet; however, that process could take weeks to accomplish.

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 3:16 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2020 10:08 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Nothing has changed with the dam at Oktibbeha County Lake, and county officials continue to monitor it for potential failure.

Recent rainfall put additional stress on the dam, and the county has been monitoring it since Tuesday. They are also monitoring a landslide opposite the dam.

If the landslide progresses, it could allow for more flooding in the event the dam breaks.

To reduce the stress, pipes have been siphoning water off the lake since Tuesday, and officials are bringing in more pumps. County EMA Director Kristen Campanella said the additional pumps will arrive Friday afternoon. 

They hope to lower the water level by at least five feet; however, that process could take weeks to accomplish.

Oktibbeha County EMA is working closely with the National Weather Service in Jackson in monitoring the weekend’s rain chances. The area could see a 1/4 inch of rain during the weekend.

The county requested that nearby residents voluntarily leave their homes for safer grounds. However, if the situation becomes worse, the county would consider a mandatory evacuation.

Campanella said EMA will issue a Code Red and activate sirens to alert residents about a mandatory evacuation.

The roads to be closed in the event of a failure:

  • County Lake Road - closed from Highway 82 to Harrell Road
  • Walter Bell Road - closed from County Lake Road to Watershed Drive
  • Perkins Drive
  • Highway 389 - closed from Wade Road to Sudduth Road
  • Reed Road - closed from the Highway 25 bypass to County Lake Road
  • Highway 82 - closed from County Lake Road to the Highway 25 bypass
  • Sun Creek Road - closed from Camp Seminole Road to Highway 389
  • Highway 50 - closed from John Henry Road to Tribble Road
  • Water Well Road

A shelter is located at the First Baptist Church Outreach Center at 210 S. Jackson St. in Starkville. This is a pet-free shelter. The Oktibbeha County Humane Society will board pets. It's located at 510 Industrial Park Rd. in Starkville.

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