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Duke plans shoreline inspections

Staff Writer

Duke Energy Carolinas announced last week that it will soon begin inspections of piers and other structures located along the western shoreline of Lake Norman in Lincoln County.
With inspections and renovations already completed in Iredell and Mecklenburg counties, the next phase, to start in early March, includes both Lincoln and Catawba counties.
“We’ll be looking for unsafe structures and abandoned boats that may pose a public safety or navigation hazard,” said Lisa Hoffmann with Duke’s Corporate Communications.
“Owners of identified structures will be notified and given ample time to respond with a renovation or removal plan.”
“This is an important service that improves the safety and enjoyment of Lake Norman residents and visitors,” she added.
“Program results thus far show that about 5 percent of the piers on Duke Energy’s lakes are in need of major repair,” said Joe Hall, director of Duke’s lake services.
Part of the power company’s ongoing “Structure Renovation and Removal Program,” the inspections were initiated in 1996 to “survey, identify and correct problem structures on lakes managed by Duke Energy Carolinas,” according to a company press release.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license granted to Duke that provides guidelines for hydroelectric-power generation also “guides the permitting of piers, seawalls and other activities to enhance recreational use of the lake and requires that these structures remain in good repair and do not pose a hazard to public safety and navigation,” Hall said.
Structural failure, inadequate flotation and signs of obvious neglect, such as missing planks, will be among the unsafe conditions searched for by inspection crews. When these conditions are found, property owners will be notified and asked to contact Duke Energy with either a repair or removal plan.
If owners do not move forward with repairs or unsafe structures and abandoned boats are not removed, “steps will be taken for removal at the owner’s expense and new requests from that owner for lake-use permitting activities will not be considered,” the release noted.
“We have completed inspections on a number of lakes in North Carolina and South Carolina on the Catawba-Wateree system,” Hall said. “Property owner cooperation thus far has been outstanding.”
Property owners are responsible for the costs associated with any required renovation or removal of unsafe shoreline structures, Hoffmann said.
“They and their neighbors understand that this is meant to improve the safety of recreational lake activities,” she added.

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