Lake Vanishes Overnight

Published: June 5, 2015

Lake Vanishes Overnight, An oversized mud puddle is all that’s left of Aspen Lake in Coweta County. Behind the puddle is what’s left of an earthen dam that held the water back – until early Monday, when the dam broke and the lake drained.

“Oh I loved this lake,” said Joey Haack, who moved into a lakefront home nine years ago. “We have nothing but a bog now. So it’s devastating.”

The mud marks the footprint of the lake site; twisted tree trunks protrude from the mud, from trees that were flooded when the dam was built.

Haack says a freak rainstorm overfilled the ten acre lake and soaked the dam.

It was part of the same series of rainstorms that hit metro Atlanta Sunday. One of them lingered over Aspen Lake. To Haack, it seemed like hours.

“That night before, it rained so hard. And we kept watching that lake level come up and and I was like. man I hope that dam holds. But it didn’t. So next day, gone,” Haack said. The water drained into a swamp downstream and, residents say, did no damage to property.

Before the lake behind his home disappeared, Haack says he and his grandchildren and his neighbors used it almost every day to boat, fish and swim.

“We just loved our lake. It’s a total loss,” said Harvey Cooper, who has lived on Aspen Lake for twenty years. When the sun rose Monday, he saw “a mud hole– that we don’t know what to do with.”

Residents say reconstruction of the dam is a bigger job than they can handle alone. They are seeking funding solutions.Because the lake is privately owned, residents acknowledge they are responsible for fixing the dam and restoring the lake – to the degree that it’s even possible. Coweta County Commissioner Tim Lasseter says the county has forwarded documents to residents describing the engineering and paperwork requirements for rebuilding the dam. The county is not offering funding, Lasseter said.

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