Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 6, 2013

DEP, Justice make tentative deal on hazardous dam


Associated Press

BECKLEY — Billionaire resort operator Jim Justice and the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday they have struck a deal to improve a privately owned dam that regulators say presents a potentially deadly flooding hazard to drivers.

DEP Secretary Randy Huffman told the Beckley Register-Herald  it should satisfy both sides, but neither offered much detail about the plans for the Mallard Lake dam at The Resort at Glade Springs.

DEP spokeswoman Kathy Cosco said the agreement covers “minor modifications to the dam to address major storm events and potential hazards to resort residents and guests.”

Cosco said Justice’s engineers requested a few weeks to complete the design work and submit their plan.

The Justice company that owns the dam, Emco Glade Springs Hospitality, also agreed to submit an emergency action plan that would close the road when there is a potential overflow of the dam, Cosco said. If an overflow occurs, the dam must be inspected by an engineer before the road can reopen.

It’s the main access road to the 600-home Glade Springs Village.

Justice told the newspaper the solution is reasonable but didn’t say how much it will cost him — or whether he’ll pass that cost on.

He’d previously threatened to transfer responsibility for the dam and road to the resort’s property owners’ association.

A January 2012 letter from DEP’s Division of Water and Waste Management declares the dam subject to the Dam Control and Safety Act, and orders its owner, to either apply to have it certified or to submit engineering plans to change or remove it. The state also demanded emergency-response and maintenance plans.

All were due in April 2012.

“From an implementation standpoint,” Huffman said, “this resolution is a practical approach to meeting the requirements of the law.”