Douglas County officials say they are exploring options to fix the spillway at Lone Star Lake and haven't given up on looking into solutions for limiting flooding below the dam.
Spillway troubles at Lone Star Lake and flooding below the dam in the nearby community are separate problems and likely will require separate solutions, Douglas County's public works director said Wednesday.
Keith Browning said acting on any of the three options in a 1989 study about the spillway isn't going to take care of flooding in nearby Lone Star.
"The spillway is not causing the flooding," the engineer stressed. "But it's not helping it."
Browning said the lake, used for boating and fishing, never was designed for flood control.
Commissioner Charles Jones said he wanted it clear that the county is only investigating fixing the spillway at this time. The Kansas Division of Water Resources in December ordered the county to come up with a plan to fix the deteriorating spillway.
Using the lake for flood control probably would mean raising its dam three feet, a project that would be expensive, Browning said.
That's not the only problem, Commissioner Dean Nieder said.
"That's an old dam," he said. "I don't know if it could stand an additional three feet."
Browning said he has been encouraged by the 1989 study because it's a lot more detailed than he initially thought.
Though they did not fund the repairs then, commissioners in 1989 voiced support for option No. 2, a combined emergency and principal spillway. It calls for a concrete trapezoid-shaped channel for the principal spillway and a grass channel for the emergency spillway. A spillway essentially carries away excess water.
Though fixing the spillway won't solve flooding below the dam, Browning said he is examining that problem, too.
"There's still a lot of things to investigate to find some help for the situation," he said.
-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.