Trinity River Authority of Texas: Hurricane Rita Damages Lake Livingston Dam

LIVINGSTON, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 26, 2005--On Saturday, September 24, 2005, Hurricane Rita made landfall on the Texas coast bringing 117 mile per hour winds to Lake Livingston. Wave action caused by sustained high winds caused damage to the dam's earthen embankment.

Lake Livingston Dam is a 2.5 mile earthen embankment with 12 tainter gates for releasing water. The earthen embankment is protected from water erosion by rip rap, large 30 inch diameter stones, on the lake side of the dam.

The high winds and significant wave action brought by Hurricane Rita eroded some of the rip rap on the lake side of the dam, exposing part of the earthen embankment. Some erosion to the earthen embankment has also occurred. Following the state-approved emergency action plan, the Trinity River Authority began releasing water from Lake Livingston to lower the water level to 127 feet above sea level to avoid any further erosion of the rip rap or the soil on the dam from wave action during the hurricane event. The lower lake level will also allow TRA's engineers to make a thorough assessment of the damage and develop a remediation plan.

After a thorough inspection, Lake Livingston Dam has been declared stable by a dam inspector from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

TRA released 79,200 cubic feet per second on Saturday and Sunday which caused flooding in low-lying areas downstream from the dam. On Monday, releases were decreased to 20,000 cubic feet per second. By noon on Tuesday, September 27, 2005, TRA plans to reduce releases from the dam to 1,000 cfs.

Built, owned and operated by the Trinity River Authority of Texas (TRA), Lake Livingston is the largest lake constructed solely for water supply purposes located totally within the State of Texas. The lake covers approximately 83,000 surface acres, with a normal pool elevation of 131 feet above mean sea level. The Livingston Dam, constructed across the Trinity River approximately seven miles southwest of the city of Livingston, is 2 1/2 miles in length and has an average height of 55 feet.

If you are concerned about flooding, contact the emergency management coordinator in your county for up-to-date information.

Polk County
Sheriff - 936-327-6810
Emergency Management - 936-327-6826

San Jacinto County
Sheriff - 936-653-4367
Emergency Management - 936-653-3395

Liberty County
Sheriff - 936-336-4500
Emergency Management - 936-336-4558

Chambers County
Sheriff - 409-267-8318
Emergency Management - 409-267-8344


Trinity River Authority of Texas
John Jadrosich, 936-365-2292
Debbie Bronson, 817-493-5122

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