The Great ShakeOut is October 16 across the United States. There will be drills for states in the Midwest, the Southeast, California and elsewhere, including overseas. Millions of people have registered their families, schools and businesses to participate, and more are signing up.
Some dam owners might be identifying painfully well with a comment by Doug Bellomo, Director of FEMA’s Risk Analysis Division, on the importance of inundation maps and Emergency Action Plans when he spoke during the recent National Dam Safety Awareness Day.
Three dams in Georgia, three in Kentucky, and 31 in Texas are among 150 USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) watershed dams in 26 states that are included in new funding for rehabilitation to better protect public safety and water infrastructure.
The www.damsafetyaction.org Texas news section includes mention of a Wall Street Journal article about an important issue that should worry many Texans. A little background: Texas updated and improved its dam safety regulations a few years ago to include a requirement for Emergency Action Plans for High-Hazard Potential (HHP) and Significant-Hazard Potential (SHP) dams, where failure would likely result in the death of people.
Several news features in the agricultural press highlight the potential benefits of using drones in identifying problems in crops or monitoring livestock. But what about similar uses for inspection and risk or damage assessment in the dams regulatory sector?
The national focus and concern about coal tailings dams had settled down in the last couple of years. These reservoirs of coal ash sludge were big news in December 2008 when the dam for a large one burst near Kingston, Tenn. It sent a wave of toxic sludge into a community and stream, inundating the immediate landscape and fouling surface water with 5 million cubic yards of contaminated waste. Since February the risks associated with the ponds have been back in headlines and television news reports, though not because of a dam breach. Continue reading →