Crews pump pond to prevent flooding after partial dam collapse - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Crews pump pond to prevent flooding after partial dam collapse

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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -

City officials are moving quickly to repair a partial dam break that prompted an evacuation of 100 people from a Sandy Springs apartment complex from becoming an even bigger problem.

One northbound lane of Roswell Road, just south of I-285, remained closed to traffic as crews began pumping water out of a quarter-acre retention pond pressing up against what remains of a dam outside of the Falls at Sandy Springs apartments at 5555 Roswell Road.

Assistant City Manager Bryant Poole said, "We're in the process of getting pumps out here to pump the lake down as quickly as possible to minimize that threat should the damn breach. Our biggest concern, as well, is the rain event that's coming for the next day or two because that could continue to put additional pressure against the dam."

City officials say the process of draining the pond could take a couple of days.

They said the partial dam collapse overnight was likely caused by the deterioration of overflow pipes that allowed rising water over the top of the dam as heavy rain advance through the area.

Meanwhile, residents from two Falls at Sandy Springs apartment buildings -- totaling 24 units -- still cannot return to their homes. While there was no official word on when that would happen, FOX 5's Paul Yates reports that there was no flooding to any of the evacuated apartments.

"If the dam were to break, there are several apartments downstream, along with a couple of businesses, that could potentially get flooded out," Chief Mark Duke, of the Sandy Springs Fire Department said.

"The foot bridge, along with the dam that's up under it, had been compromised. It had washed away partially," Chief Mark Duke said.

Neighbor Ruby McQueen said, "The rain was torrential. I mean, it was really coming down hard and all of the sudden we heard a big bang, and that's when half the wall came down."

Neighbor Matthew Taylor said, "You get around the corner of the road and look back and half the road's gone. That's pretty impressive."

Taylor, his girlfriend and their 3-year-old daughter were among those forced out of their apartments.

"We have the necessities. That's all that matters," he said. "Everybody's safe."

Many of the evacuated residents turned an emergency shelter set up by the American Red Cross the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, located at 85 Mount Vernon Highway. The Red Cross is providing food, cots and blankets, as well as health and emotional support from caring volunteers

By late Thursday, Sandy Springs government officials said that the water level here dropped by four and a half feet.  A fourth pump was brought in to make the area safe. That work will continue through the night.

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