1 in 5 Wyoming High Hazard Dams in Poor Condition
Written by jordanmckamey on November 11, 2019
An Associated Press investigation has found that about one out of every five Wyoming dams whose failure would likely kill at least one person downstream is in poor condition.
The two-year AP investigation found 18 of Wyoming’s 87 high hazard dams were in poor condition as of last year.
“High hazard” is the term used to describe a structure whose failure would mean a potential loss of life.
The AP investigation identified more than 1,680 such dams in 44 states and Puerto Rico.
All but one of the 18 Wyoming dams are used for irrigation, and most are owned privately or by the U.S. government.
In September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded over $318,000 to the state to conduct risk assessments for 26 dams.
The grants announced this fall for 26 states will pay for preliminary steps such as risk assessments and engineering designs, not the actual repairs. State or local entities are to provide a 35% match.
The federal grants amount to a mere fraction of the $70 billion the dam safety organization estimates it would take to repair and modernize the nation’s tens of thousands of aging dams.