Lake Waxhoma Spillway Could Get Repairs Through Federal Funding

Monday, September 19th 2022, 6:20 pm


The Lake Waxhoma spillway in Barnsdall needs repairs and the mayor is hoping federal funding could pay for the project. This comes after floodwaters went over the spillway in the spring of 2021, causing the dam to crack.

The Barnsdall Mayor Johnny Kelley said if they are able to get funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, the spillway could be completely rebuilt, instead of constantly making temporary repairs.

It's been 15 months since floodwaters went over the Lake Waxhoma Spillway in Barnsdall, causing the dam to crack.

“Every day it’s not resolved there is always a chance of catastrophe and I’m not as worried about flooding as I am people going without water,” Kelley said.

Kelley said $5 million dollars’ worth of funding for water infrastructure repairs in small towns has been made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and they are applying for that aid. They wouldn’t receive that entire sum, just the amount needed and proposed for the project.

“That’s why it’s been so important to get the engineering going so we can get as much done as we can to expedite this to the best of our ability to go forward with our project,” Kelley said.

He said the dam wasn't built properly to begin with, but a new structure would give stability to the dam for close to 80 years.

“They will rebuild it,” Kelley said. “Tear everything completely out and start over from scratch.”

The mayor said 6,000 people rely on the water supply from Lake Waxhoma and he doesn’t anticipate any interruptions to that supply when they start rebuilding.

Kelley said they are grateful to even be considered for this funding.

"There is just very little money to work with when you’re in a small town and when you do get money there are so many obligations you have to meet and so many rules to follow to get anything done, it’s been a frustrating process and nice to have a little bit of hope,” Kelley said.

Kelley said if they get the funding, the next step would be to get bids on the project, which could take up to eight months.


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