Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission

Navigation Hazard/Debris Removal

TLAC regularly receives inquiries about debris. The most frequently asked questions and responses are:


How can residents report debris on the lake?

TLAC encourages residents to contact us either by telephone or email. Our staff will then forward a report on your behalf. Our phone number is 540-721-4400.

Leesville Lake Debris email is:

Smith Mountain Lake Debris email is:

Exception: Please note that if it is outside business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm) and the debris poses an immediate navigation hazard, residents should call AEP directly at 800-956-4237.


Smith Mountain Lake Dam

Who is responsible for debris removal?

American Electric Power’s (AEP) license, which became effective April 1, 2010, assigns principal responsibilities for debris removal at Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake to the company. Article 411 of the License addresses debris and includes the following language:

“AEP shall implement sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Debris Management Plan filed July 15, 2008, with the following modifications: AEP shall remove and properly dispose of debris from the project reservoirs that:

  • Creates safety hazards
  • Interferes with public access to public recreation facilities or
  • Results in adverse aesthetic impacts

Throughout the year, AEP must address recreational hazards created by floating debris resulting from high flow events.

This includes not only the removal of floating debris immediately after the high flow event, but also removal of floating hazards created by dislodged debris on an ongoing basis after the event has occurred.

Additional information regarding AEP’s debris responsibilities can be found in their Debris Management Plan.


What else can residents do?

We are all stakeholders of the lakes and should act responsibly. Here are some suggestions:

  • Prevent debris from entering the lake.
  • Dispose of all trash properly — remember that trash left along the roadside could eventually become debris in the lake.
  • Clear and properly dispose of loose, woody debris from your property periodically.
  • Tie large debris to large, strong tree on the shoreline and report the debris location to TLAC, 540-721-4400, or AEP, 800-956-4237 for removal. Tying debris to your personal property or dock can be damaging and inconvenient. 
  • Participate in the Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake cleanup event. This event brings hundreds of volunteers together to clean the lake. See additional information on the website.
  • Participate in the Leesville Lake Beautification Day cleanup event. This event brings numerous volunteers together to clean the lake.