Pumps Prevent Watershed Flooding, Allows Spillway Repairs

Bear Creek Lake is part of a large watershed system located in Wayne County, NC. The watershed system is made up of watercourses, dams and bodies of water that drain into each other.

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Bear Creek Lake is part of a large watershed system located in Wayne County, NC. The watershed system is made up of watercourses, dams and bodies of water that drain into each other. It was created in the 1960s to prevent flooding along Bear Creek northeast of Goldsboro, NC.

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Two Thompson Pump Vacuum-Assisted Dry Prime Trash Pumps are installed on the earthen dam in order to lower the water level of Bear Creek Lake.
Click here to enlarge image

Flooding and heavy rains caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 eroded the emergency spillway, damaged earthen dams, and clogged underground pipes that were essential to the draining process of the watershed. Since then, federal money issues, litigation disputes between the county government and residents along Bear Lake, and heavy rains have diffused any efforts to repair the watershed system. Last year, heavy rains again pelted Wayne County, causing the lake's level to rise dramatically and threaten lakefront property. County officials needed to act quickly, to avoid further deterioration of the watershed.

Roland Gray, chairman of Wayne County Drainage District #1, was in charge of the watershed pumping operations. His actions were under close scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Wayne County Soil Conservation Group and the North Carolina Forestry Service, looking for options to protect the watershed, Gray contacted the local representative at Thompson Pump's Goldsboro, NC, branch.

After visiting Bear Creek Lake, the Thompson representative proposed the installation of a 12 inch vacuum-assisted Dry Prime Trash Pump and 60 feet of suction hose with a strainer mounted to a floatation device to prevent the suction strainer from being buried in the ground. The vacuum-assisted pump was selected due to its high amount of flow and air handling capability.

The discharge side was comprised of 100 feet of Thompson galvanized pipe and was directed onto the other side of the dam where the watershed was operating properly. Company crews were able to install the entire system within hours of the initial contact from Gray. The county already owned an 18'' pump system, which was going to be installed by the Forestry Service, alongside the Thompson Pump system, to increase the reduction of Bear Creek Lake.

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The suction side of the pump systems comprised of Thompson Pump's Galvanized Pipe with a strainer that was attached to floatation devices to keep the strainer from burying itself into the lake's floor.
Click here to enlarge image

After two more days of heavy rains and mechanical problems resulting in down times from the county owned 18'' pump, Roland Gray contacted Thompson Pump for another system to replace the 18'' pump system. The company assembled another system, which was comprised of another 12 inch vacuum-assisted Dry Prime Trash Pump, with 80 feet of suction hose with a strainer, and 90 feet of galvanized pipe.

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Two Thompson Pump Vacuum-Assisted Dry Prime Trash Pumps are installed on the earthen dam in order to lower the water level of Bear Creek Lake.
Click here to enlarge image

Patricia Gabriel, district conservationist with the federal and soil agency reported in a newspaper article regarding the conditions at Bear Lake, "The water was 18 inches below the emergency spillway. It was about 31/2 feet from the top of the dam. If the water had gone over the spillway, it could have caused a lot of damage," she said, "but it didn't get up that high."

With both systems producing an average total of 12,500 gpm, the watershed level began lowering within the pumps' initial continuous 16-hour run period. This allowed crews to repair the damaged emergency spillway, earthen dams, and underground pipes which comprised the watershed system.

The two Vacuum-Assisted Dry Prime Trash Pumps were discharging into the other side of the dam where the watershed system was operational.

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