Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Rumor has it the largest dam in Iraq may collapse and unleash a trillion gallons of water onto Mosul, a city of 1.7 million.

People may have different opinions about the Iraqi war but this stunning news has brought awareness of dam safety home.

After the Minnesota bridge collapse, we learned that The American Society of Civil Engineers, which grades the nation's infrastructure, gave our nation’s bridges a “C.” Now we’re learning they’ve been repeatedly giving our dams a “D.”

Some scary dam numbers: According to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, states regulate more than 87,000 dams. Of those, states classified over 10,000 as hazardous, which means if they fail they would pose serious threat to human life.

Numbers are tricky, though, and these numbers are wrong: they’re too conservative because each state defines dams differently. In Missouri, a 34-foot high structure isn't even considered a dam. And Alabama doesn't even track the number of dams.

Damn. Well you can’t say the Iraqi war wasn’t good for something.

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