Three Gorges Probe

Danger Pent Up Behind Aging Dams

(February 21, 2011) Aging dams have become a growing problem in the United States, and a potential threat to downstream populations. Besides the perils of elderly infrastructure, putting off repairs due to belt-tightening in a time of recession can aggravate lurking dangers from internal erosion, over-topping, and earthquakes.

America’s dams are aging, dangerously so, says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nationwide, the potential repair costs are staggering and it is not clear where the funds will come from to repair the dams, two-thirds of which are owned privately, the rest by struggling state and local governments. The dams are prone to catastrophic failure brought on by  seepage, internal erosion, over-topping if they can’t spill flood waters, and earthquakes long thought to be inactive but now proven to be a threat with modern paleoseismological analysis. This New York Times article reveals the sunset menace of mature dams and their potential for failure.

Read the full story here.

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