Water release continues from Lake Tangipahoa - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Water release continues from Lake Tangipahoa

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MCCOMB, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi officials say they have released enough water from a 700-acre lake swollen with rain from Isaac to bring it to normal pool levels.

James MacLellan, dam safety director with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, says officials will drop Lake Tangipahoa at Percy Quin State Park another five feet this week.

Work continues around the clock on a giant trench being dug by the Mississippi Department of Transportation to take water out of the lake, reducing pressure on the dam.

"We are pulling off about 800,000 gallons per second. That is a pretty good sized river that we have got flowing out of here. Dropped four feet already, we want to drop it about six and a half. At that point, even if we have a break, whether it's our dig, or the original sloughing, there will be little, no effect down stream," said Governor Phil Bryant.

MacLellan says by the time the lake is dropped another five feet, workers should have completed a drainage ditch that will divert even more water from the lake into nearby fields. He says the dam is stable.

"Right now it is holding, it is in a weakened condition, and we are taking steps, measures to bring, to make the situation safer," said MacLellan.

Ernie Shirley, an environmental scientist with DEQ added, "This dam has got the two slides on the back side, and it's gonna be a threat. We are doing everything we can to try to reduce that, every day, we work hard to do it. It is a threat."

Lake Tangipahoa's earthen dam at Percy Quin State Park - a 2,300-foot levee on which a two-lane roadway runs - has not been breached. It is located about 15 miles north of the Louisiana line.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.

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