Thurmond Dam Failure Plan

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December 29, 2005
The Thurmond Dam keeps thousands of homes safe from flooding. Columbia County has a new plan to keep you dry if the dam would fail. News 12 is on your side with where to go to see if your home is in a danger zone.

Billions of gallons of water push against the Thurmond Dam, and Billy Franke’s house will be right in the water’s path.

“The whole area would be inundated with water,” Franke said.

With just the click of a mouse, you can see your house. The pink means you are in a flood zone. One of the worse areas is Hardy McManus and Fury’s Ferry.

EMA Deputy Director Rusty Welsh says over 7,000 people in Columbia County live in areas that could end up underwater.

“It’s important for citizens to look and find out if they’re in that inundation area or not,” Welsh said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lets water out of the dam whenever waters rise. They’re trying to relieve pressure on the dam and minimize the amount of water that would rush out if it breaks.

Martinez-Columbia Fire and Rescue would be on the way if an earthquake or heavy rain bring rising waters.

“We have maps, we know where the flood planes are, we’re prepared to deal with that,” said Chief James Champion.

The new dam failure plan has more evacuation routes to help people get out of harm’s way. It includes over a thousand homes that weren’t on the last report in 2001.

“I don’t really have any plans if it overflows or breaks cause I’ve never given much though to it,” Billy Franke said.

The new dam provides people living in the almost 3,000 homes in the pink zone an escape plan of their own. Dam failure could affect Richmond County, too. Their website also has maps that will give you more information about your home.

The Columbia County Dam Plan is at You can find your house by clicking “Maps Online.” If you live in Richmond County, go to and click on “GIS Maps Online.”