VASS, N.C. — A private dam holding back a country club lake is so close to failing that North Carolina taxpayers are stepping in drain it and protect downstream residents.

The state environmental quality and attorney general’s offices said Friday breaching Woodlake Dam in Moore County has become an emergency. State officials said the company that owns the dam won’t meet a deadline later this month to drain it before hurricane season.

Hurricane Matthew in October forced evacuations and emergency repairs. But the Woodlake Dam has been under review for years because of cracks and other damage.

State safety officials plan to start work at the dam on Monday, then sue Woodlake CC Corp. to recover the costs.

Calls left at the company’s offices were not returned Friday.

Information from: The Fayetteville Observer,

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