Compass Lake seeing low water levels after dam breaks

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ALFORD, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Last week the dam at Compass Lake in Alford broke and since then, resident Steve Rogers said, "We've had a substantial drop in the water level since that time, in fact, 17 inches at the dock here."

While Jackson County officials say the water level only dropped around 12 inches in some spots, Rogers says the water levels are historically low.

"This is probably the lowest I've seen it at this area since I've been here. The only other time was the last drought and it still wasn't quite this low," he said.

Residents say two droughts have hit Compass Lake since 2000 and it took years to get the water levels back up, but the county is working to stop the flow with sheet piling.

Larry Alvarez, the County Engineer for Jackson County said, "It dropped more than I wanted it to. We didn't want it to drop more than three or four inches so it's critical to stop that flow."

Residents say while repairs were underway on the road that crosses over the dam, water seeped through and erosion caused the break. We've not been able to confirm that was the cause.

In any event, some say the county wasn't quick enough to start repairing the busted dam and the lower water levels could have an impact on more than the residents.

Rogers said, "It's very important for not only us but visitors that come to the lake and use the access at the boat ramps, particularly getting our boats in and out of the water from our boat lifts. Which is difficult at best at this point."

Alvarez says the repairs to the dam and the roadway should be done in 60 days.

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