Rumors Of Cracked Dams Dispelled

Monday, July 2nd 2007, 1:25 pm
By: News On 6

Heavy rains earlier this week in southeast Kansas has caused a rise in many of the rivers, which flow out of Kansas into northeast Oklahoma. This elevated flow has many Oklahoma residents concerned. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it is keeping a close eye on the dams it operates in its district, which includes southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. Corps officials say there is no reason for alarm. Rumors are rising almost as fast the floodwaters themselves.

The News On 6 has received dozens of phone calls and emails reporting cracks in area dams and more. The News On 6’s Heather Lewin reports Corps officials say that is not the case.

Yes, rivers are high, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say the dams are not in danger of breaking. “This is the worst I've seen because it's so broad,” said Ross Adkins with the Army Corps of Engineers. “We have over 80% of our dams that are well into the top of the flood pool. That's how massive of a storm this has been."

Responsible for 38 lakes in the southeast Kansas/northeast Oklahoma region, the recent flooding has the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on its toes. “We've had so much rainfall over such a broad area it is just basically almost overloading everything we have,” Adkins said.

All that water coming out of the sky has to go somewhere. Northeast Oklahoma is peppered with lakes, all ultimately flowing into the Arkansas River, but officials say most of the flooding has occurred in uncontrolled areas, not below the dams.

Ross Adkins says in the Corps’ flood control areas, they have been able to park the water behind the dams, and then make releases as often as possible. While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking the situation very seriously, they say rumors of the dams' demise are greatly exaggerated. “No, absolutely not,” Adkins said. “It seems like every time we have a high water event, it seems like somebody thinks our dams are going to fail or have a crack in them. That's just a rumor. Believe me."

You may see water seepage at one of the Corps’ dams, but Adkins says that does not mean there is a crack in the dam. “This is common and very well known around all of our dams. Just about all dams have some seepage,” said Adkins. “We do watch that very closely. If that seepage changes any, of course, we're alerted, and we'll take immediate action."

Adkins says the Corps’ biggest concern is water safety, people who might be fishing downstream being swept away. Corps officials urge people even along the river's edge with no intention of going in to wear a life vest.

Watch the video: Flood Rumors Dismissed