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N.C. Attorney General files injunction against Woodlake owners amidst prolonged dam safety concerns

Woodlake Dam

The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office has filed a court injunction against the German ownership group that owns the damaged Woodlake Dam in an effort to make it pay for dam safety repairs.

The dam is located on the Lower Little River and impounds a 10,000 acre-feet reservoir. The structure was rated as one of the state’s largest high-hazard dams in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and inspectors have predicted that a failure could cause at least 3 feet of downstream flooding.

Woodlake Dam’s owners — German investors Ingolf Boex and Illya Steiner, operating as Woodlake CC Corp. — have previously been directed by a number of agencies to perform repair work.

Thus far, those orders have been ignored, leading North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pump water from the reservoir behind the dam.

The willingness of the dam’s owners to perform repair work was brought into further question in January, when Geosyntec Consultants terminated a contract with Woodlake CC for non-payment of services associated with the rehabilitation project.

The Attorney General’s injunction requires Woodlake CC to either pay to fix the dam, or pay to remove it. The owners have 30 days from the injunction’s filing on January 27 to submit a written response to the court.

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