Are We Ignoring Infrastructure Problems?

There are many dams in America that are in danger of failing for one reason or another. Let’s look at 2.

First up, a simple problem with a dam in Ohio, could have bad consequences. Goose carcass causes clogged drain at Cattle Dam.

A dead goose was blocking the primary outlet of a dam in Ohio. This caused water to flow over the weir, and that caused erosion. The city tried to remove the goose, and failed and hired a contractor, who was successful. But there are still problems.

The erosion downstream of the weir has continued and has started to undercut the grouted section stone slope protection adjacent to the weir thereby increasing risk of dam failure.

It is one of the many dams in America where no one is quite sure who owns it.

So is a dead goose (or other creature) causing problems common or uncommon?

Then there are the many dams that have been ignored. This one is in the news. ‘We’re gambling every day:’ Lake Conestee dam remains a flooding and environmental risk.

This dam has been in poor condition for quite a while. The last inspection was in 2019.

The inspection also noted:

  • Seepage
  • Deterioration
  • Trash and woody debris

In addition to the problems with the dam, toxic debris is known to be behind the dam (the result of upstream problems). If the dam were to fail, that toxicity would be released downstream causing a whole host of problems.

They have plans to build a new dam, 10 feet downstream from the old one, which is supposed to be complete by 2022, but they haven’t even acquired all of the land they need. So who knows.

If it were to fail, it would be catastrophic, [Conestee Foundation Executive Director Dave] Hargett said.

All the toxic sediment the dam is holding back would make its way down the Reedy River and into Boyd Mill Pond and Lake Greenwood — which provides water for Greenwood and Laurens counties.

“If we lost the dam, it wouldn’t just be an environmental catastrophe, it would be an economic catastrophe,” Hargett said.

Yet they don’t seem to be moving too quickly getting funding, or the land needed.

So will this be another entry at Damfailures.org? Who knows?