Duke Energy defends its handling of rising Catawba River water levels

Duke Energy defends its handling of rising Catawba River water levels

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by RAD BERKY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Updated Monday, May 6 at 11:46 PM

CLAREMONT, N.C. -- Duke Energy is defending its handling of rising water levels in the rain-swollen Catawba River that flooded homes Monday.

River Street in Claremont lived up to its name with a number of houses flooded.

One of the residents, Pati Ervin, described what she could see looking down the flooded street.

"Devastation.  Families in trouble.  Everything ruined."

Many neighbors blamed Duke Energy for not properly timing the release of water from the Oxford Dam upstream.

Duke spokesperson, Erin Culbert, said the company had started to manage the water in the river late last week and was aware of the potential for high water.

"The challenge is immense," Culbert said.  "Even last night we had a gate open on the Oxford Dam."

Culbert said there were what she called "control problems" getting more gates open early Monday morning but she said the flooding was going to happen regardless.

She said the company tries to work closely with the neighborhoods in that area and discuss flooding concerns.

Howard Ervin expects it will be at least two or three days until he will be able to get back into his home on River Street.

"I hate being in that motel room," Ervin said.

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