26 Kansas dams listed as ‘high hazard’


November 11, 2019 - 9:50 AM

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Nearly a century ago, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built a large dam near Augusta to supply water for the steam locomotives that at the time were chugging across the dusty Kansas prairie.

Today the aging Santa Fe Lake Dam is considered a high-hazard dam because of its potential for the loss of life if it fails. An analysis by The Associated Press of dams across the country has found that it’s among more than two dozen potentially dangerous dams in Kansas that are in such poor shape they are vulnerable to failure.

Augusta acquired the Santa Fe Lake Dam, located about 3 miles west of town, in 1950 as a supplemental water supply. The dam, built in 1927, is 1,110 feet long and 38 feet tall with a maximum water depth of 11 feet. Its spillway was found during an inspection last year to be in “extremely poor condition.” Inspectors noted it also has inadequate capacity that makes it vulnerable to overtopping or failure during a significant storm.

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