Debris cleanup continues at Smith Mountain Lake after last month’s flooding

Cleanup expected to last a few more weeks

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – About 1,000 tons of debris was collected last week from both Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes.

Cruising through the Blackwater stretch of Smith Mountain Lake on Wednesday, you could still see plenty of debris in the water.

Little by little, an excavator on a barge is scooping up debris floating on the water.

“We place it in a roll-off dumpster. Once the dumpster is full, we will go to our port and exchange the full dumpster for a new one,” said AEP Power senior project support specialist David Agee said.

The cleanup crew is working 10 hours a day.

“It’s a little difficult to say, with as many debris reports as we’ve received, when we would be at any one specific location. But rest assured, our crews are working 5-6 days a week," said Agee.

He didn't have an estimate Wednesday for how much debris would be collected this week, but he estimated there may be several tons of debris just in the cove the crew was working in Wednesday.

Around 6,000 tons of debris was collected from the two lakes in 2019.

“We don’t always know what to expect. There are many factors that determine the debris that could flow in. How fast it rains, how high the rivers get, that sort of thing. So we’ve seen about every scenario," Agee said.

Debris can be reported through AEP’s customer solutions center or website or through the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission’s website.