Dam Safety Awareness Day Marked In Montgomery County | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Dam Safety Awareness Day Marked In Montgomery County

Play associated audio
At the Lake Needwood Dam, the yellow line shows how high the water after persistent raining in 2006.
Matt Bush
At the Lake Needwood Dam, the yellow line shows how high the water after persistent raining in 2006.

Thursday is National Dam Safety Awareness Day, and federal officials didn't have to stray far from D.C. for an example of how dangerous dam breaches can be.

On this day in 1889, the worst dam failure in United States history occurred when the South Fork Dam in Cambria County, Pennsylvania gave way. As many as 2,200 people perished in what's remembered as the Johnstown Flood. Since then, the federal government has been more active in dam safety, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency says there is still a long way to go.

Federal officials touted their new efforts today at the Lake Needwood Dam in Rockville. Six years ago, several consecutive days of heavy rain caused leaks in the earthen dam. More than 2,000 people in the immediate area were evacuated.

"The water was coming through the rock underneath the dam," says Mike Riley, the dam's engineer of record at the time. "And while that's not good, that's better than it coming through the dam, because the rock is more stable and less likely to deteriorate."

Cement was poured into the fractures in those rocks to prevent future leaks. Riley is confident that will hold up to future storms, though he admits in the last six years there have not been storms severe enough to test the dam.

NPR

Not My Job: Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Gets Quizzed On Downhill Cheese Races

If you think downhill ski racing is dangerous, then you've never seen the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Races, in which competitors hurl their bodies down a steep hill, chasing a wheel of cheese.
NPR

Spread Of Palm Oil Production Into Africa Threatens Great Apes

Palm oil growers are setting their sights on Africa as they amp up production. More than half of the land that's been set aside for plantations in Africa overlaps with ape habitats, researchers say.
WAMU 88.5

Democrats Push To Overturn Hobby Lobby Ruling

Virginia's Tim Kaine and other Democrats are trying to overturn the ruling with legislation they say will protect female workers.
NPR

Friday Feline Fun: A Ranking Of The Most Famous Internet Cats

Forget the Forbes Celebrity 100. This is the Friskies 50 — the new definitive guide of the most influential cats on the Internet. The list is based on a measure of the cats' social media reach.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.