North Fork Dam improvement construction advances to blasting stage

Updated information
regarding North Fork Dam Improvement Project

The City of Asheville would like to clarify recent public information on the work being performed for the Dam Improvement Project at the North Fork facility. The construction of the new auxiliary spillway requires the excavation of earth and bedrock to reach foundation grade. In order to reach the required depth, a professional qualified in handling explosives will be performing the blasting of bedrock for the new Auxiliary Spillway.

The blasting will not take place at the existing dam.

Due to the small depth of the charges, less vibration and sound will be produced than what is typically heard from the nearby quarry.

The first blast took place April 2.

The City would like to remind the public that this is an active construction site and the public should stay outside the area.



Original report

Construction began over the winter on the North Fork Dam Improvement Project and, as part of this project, there will be some blasting this spring, as previously announced.

We now have the initial blasting schedule and information useful to nearby residents.

  •         Because of rain, the tentative date of the first blast has been revised to between the dates of April 2-4.
  •         Blasting will be conducted between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  •         Typically there will be one to two blasts a day. These will be followed by one to three days of excavation.
  •         A series of sirens will proceed and follow each blast. These typically will be a one-minute series of audible signals prior to the blast, followed by a prolonged signal after the inspection of the blast area.

We would like to remind nearby residents that this type of blasting (into the ground) differs from the type of blasting heard from the nearby quarry.

The blasting schedule is expected to last for two months.



About the project

The North Fork Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant serve as the City of Asheville’s primary drinking water source, providing 70% of Asheville’s water. With so many people, businesses and industries dependent upon this critical natural resource, special care and proactive measures need to be taken to ensure our water source and infrastructure are protected.


Planned modifications at North Fork Reservoir include:

  •         Raising the dam by 4 feet;
  •         Improvements to the principal spillway and the addition of an auxiliary spillway;
  •         Modifications to the raw water piping through the dam and to the water treatment plant; and
  •         Earth buttressing to reinforce the main dam and saddle dam for seismic stability.


The bid for construction services was awarded in October 2017 to the contractor Phillips & Jordan and construction began this winter.

Once completed, the dam will be able to better withstand inflow from severe storm events, as well as add capacity to the reservoir.

For more information about this important project, please visit the North Asheville Parks Improvements webpage on the City of Asheville website. To navigate to the webpage, visit, then type “North Fork Dam” into the search bar at the top of the page.


Questions? Email the project team at Or call Customer Service at 828-251-1122.