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26 August, 2009

Old American Dams Quietly Become a Multibillion-Dollar Threat

As if we weren't already pretty well layed-out with things to worry about, here this article reminds us of an issue about which we had perhaps forgotten: our aging dams.

"... The average age of America’s 80,000 dams is 51 years. More than 2,000 dams near population centers are in need of repair, according to statistics released this month by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials....

... the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our dams a grade of “D” in its 2009 report on the nation’s infrastructure..."

Sounds a little like a projects that could have benefited from some of that stimulus money to me, but why worry about a little thing like national infrastructure? We all know those dollars are better off in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, AIG, and all the overseas funds to which AIG funneled billions of dollars.

The real danger to you and I now is that the growing population over the years has resulted in people settling downstream of many of these now dangerous structures. "... dams that once could have failed without major repercussions are now upstream of cities and development..."

In the event of a catastrophic dam failure, one living within its flood-zone would have precious little warning (if any) and the only option would be to escape to higher ground. It would be, quite truthfully, a flight from certain death with a devastating wall of water bearing down on you and leaving nothing in its wake but utter destruction.

This would be one of those rare times when sheltering at home would be a decidedly bad idea; you would be better off grabbing your bug-out bag and heading (literally) for the hills.


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