The apparent failure of an overflow pipe caused the large pond at Somerset Community College to drain almost completely away overnight Wednesday, Aug. 28th. The water started draining following a hard rain after midnight, and had disappeared by 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 28th.
Loss of the large volume of water also caused the side of the main road leading to the London-Laurel Wellness Park to give way, prompting officials to close the road until the situation is assessed. After initially believing the park could stay open via a detour, SCC officials informed London Parks and Recreation Director Mackie Williams that they were concerned about the stability of the area, and asked that the Wellness Park be closed through the Labor Day weekend.
The pond and the drainage system were built decades ago when the property was a depot for coal coming in from Eastern Kentucky. Four large heavy equipment tires were uncovered in the bottom of the pond. London and Laurel County purchased the property and later deeded portions, including the road, to Somerset Community College.
Williams said he inspected below the Wellness Park where the drain pipe exits to make sure there was no flood damage from the millions of gallons of water sucked out of the pond. “I went all the way down to the railroad track and there wasn’t any damage,” he said. “There is a big culvert under the railroad track that leads to the Little Laurel River back there. The creek is huge so the water just dispersed.”
The Wellness Park off College Park Dr. re-opened on Wednesday, Sept. 4th. For safety purposes, the City is asking the public to follow the “detour” signs to the park and use caution while driving through Somerset Community College’s Laurel Campus to access the road between the ponds.
As always, be mindful of pedestrians and enjoy the park!