HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT)- A Hopkins County lake could be gone for good if a lawsuit goes through. The Commonwealth of Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet filed a lawsuit in Hopkins County Circuit Court last December.
According to the lawsuit, repairs are estimated to cost between $500,000 to $800,000. Residents on and near the lake says the problems started in 2018 when the state came and cited several issues with the dam and spillway.
“The county has some responsibility with that. There was originally like a 10-foot culvert and during their maintenance of that, they replaced it with a like 4 to 5 culvert. And now one of the citations that we have from the state is that the culvert is not large enough and we are not able to flow enough water in the event of a severe thunderstorm,” Scott Basham, a resident who lives near the lake, says.
Basham says the county agreed to work with homeowners on repairs a few years ago.
“There was a faulty valve and if we took care of the valve, they would take care of the spillway. It just tuned out the valve isn’t faulty. Still doesn’t meet the specks because we have requirements they have had, but the county has backed down on that,” Basham says.
Basham hired an expert to help him turn on the valve to show the fiscal courts it was not faulty.
There are also questions about who owns the dam. Residents we spoke with say there are several people who own property in the spillway.
“The person who owns the most property has made a side deal with the state without our knowledge to drain the lake and he proceeded to do that. He hired a company to begin siphoning the water down and he won’t talk to me or anybody. His object is to siphon it down enough so it can’t be filled again,” says Ron Segebarth, a resident who lives on the lake.
The next court date is set for May 23. Jack Whitfield, the Hopkins County Judge Executive released a statement to Eyewitness News, saying ” I am hopeful that we can come to a resolution that satisfies all parties and that we can find a solution that keeps Otter Lake as a beautiful part of Hopkins County.”
More from Ann Powell
Eyewitness News. Everywhere you are.