By Kate Malongowski
With nearly 1,000 significant or high hazard dams across the state, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown hopes to pass legislation to establish emergency action and flood plans in those areas.
"Our state's aging water infrastructure includes nearly 1,000 dams in need of repair," Brown said. "If a dam breaks and communities flood, families and business owners in too many communities would be ill-prepared for an emergency. That's why I'm calling for passage of the Water Resources Development Act, legislation that includes critical resources for dam inspections and maintenance."
The Water Resources Development Act is updated periodically to keep up with modern water-related issues. It includes resources for dam inspection.
"We try to update to the problems and issues of today, which are usually different from five years ago," Brown said.
Also, stronger safety requirements are highlighted in the expired National Dam Safety Program, which also is to be reauthorized.
Services the program provides include public awareness and outreach programs; identifying more effective techniques to assess, construct, and monitor dams; and providing training assistance to state engineers.
Six reservoirs' dams and the Kingwood Village Lake Dam were deemed hazardous in Allen County. In Auglaize County, dams at the Grand Lake St. Marys East Embankment and the St. Marys Lime Sludge Lagoons were both named hazards. Dams at the Ottawa and Yellow Creek reservoirs, as well as the Fort Jennings Lagoon, are considered hazards in Putnam County.
Statewide, more than 400 high hazard dams would cause significant loss of life and/or significant damage to surrounding properties if they failed. More than 500 significant hazard dams in the state can potentially cause economic loss, environmental damage, flooding of highways or railroads if they flooded.