Kansas needs a fix for 29 dams

The state has 29 dams in dire need of repair, regulators told Kansas lawmakers Monday. Several ways to alleviate the problem were discussed.

By

State News

February 1, 2022 - 9:50 AM

Earl Lewis, chief engineer with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, said the state had 29 dams in need of prompt repair but complained the agency lacked legal tools to compel landowners to act. Photo by (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Agriculture briefed a legislative committee Monday on legal challenges of compelling action to repair 29 dams in unsatisfactory condition and considered a hazard to homes, businesses or infrastructure.

Earl Lewis, chief engineer with the agriculture department, said the state has regulatory control of about one-third of the state’s 6,695 dams. Overall, more than 600 dams in Kansas have been identified as significant or high hazards if breached. The state has jurisdiction over 400 of these dams.

“There are 29 out there where we need to have action,” Lewis said. “Some of these we’ve known about for a number of years. We don’t have the enforcement tools.”

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