Area residents and businesses near Lake McQueeney dam shouldn’t be alarmed when they hear a loud horn coming from the hydroelectric facility around noon on Sunday.
It is only a test.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority will sound the siren as a trial run for the newly upgraded warning system, GBRA spokesperson Patty Gonzales said.
“The new alert can be triggered remotely from GBRA’s control room if an unscheduled release of water occurs from the dam alerting recreationalists nearby or within the restricted zones downstream of McQueeney Dam to take immediate actions to secure lives and property in the event of a spillgate failure,” she said in a news release.
Gonzales said the horn will blast a couple of times for about 10 to 15 seconds each blast.
Each dam has a manually operated alert system, each one different.
This upgrade will allow for someone in the control center who is monitoring the dams to trigger the alarm in the instance of a possible failure, Gonzales said.
“If we can activate it from the control room, the alert can be activated in less than a minute, so it is quicker,” she said. “We have folks that work around the clock.”
Additionally, GBRA is adding more signage to the restricted areas to remind residents where they are prohibited to be in relation to McQueeney Dam, Gonzales said.
“We’re placing additional buoys and signage to let them know where the restricted zone is,” she said. “Due to continued recreational activities within the restricted zone, the river authority will be placing additional buoys at the Highway 78 Bridge on Lake Placid to prevent vessels from proceeding upstream. Additional signage warning swimmers of the risks within the restricted area will also be installed near the dam.”
GBRA expanded the restricted zones for recreational activities on Lake Placid near McQueeney Dam in May following the spillage failure at Lake Dunlap’s dam on May 14 as a safety precaution.