Did you know that the state of Missouri requires dams to be constructed safely? The Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for regulating non-federal and non-agricultural dams and provides technical assistance to dam owners. Read on to learn more about Missouri’s laws and regulations governing dams and safety. This information is vital to the development and operation of dams and reservoirs. In addition to ensuring safety, dams are a valuable source of revenue for local governments.
St. Francis Dam failure
In the case of the St. Francis Dam failure in Missouri, the ultimate failure mode was attributed to the weakening of the left abutment foundation rock. Subsequently, a large landslide that had been submerged reactivated, and the resulting destabilizing uplift force caused the dam’s left end to fail. The dam’s main dam also tilted and rotated, causing the dam to collapse.
In addition to the state government, the county and city governments also participated in the investigation. The investigation was led by ambitious Los Angeles District Attorney Asa Keyes. The findings were shocking, but the public was left with a lot of questions. Although the investigation was extensive, it was ultimately unsuccessful in determining who was to blame. As a result, the public was left to wonder: “What was the cause of the St. Francis dam failure?”
The St. Francis Dam was completed one year after the original plans were developed. The structure was 205 feet high and 1225 feet long at the crest. It was 150 feet thick at stream level and had a depth of 160 feet. In March 1928, the dam was flooded, causing catastrophic damage. More than four hundred people died, and it’s still considered one of the worst civil engineering disasters in American history.
The collapse of the dam caused a flood that spreads for a mile and a half, traveling at an average speed of 18 mph. The flood destroyed the dam’s heavy concrete Powerhouse No. 2 and two turbines. The failure was a major disaster, and there were 64 fatalities. It took a long time for the news of the failure to spread, but eventually the water level rose to levels where people were able to escape.
Meramec Dam failure
The Meramec River dam was one of the most controversial projects in the nation during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Corps of Engineers and Missouri Governor Kit Bond had planned to build a hydroelectric dam on the Meramec in 1977, but a referendum was held on August 8, 1978. That referendum, though not legally binding, caused Congress to reconsider the project. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter canceled federal funding for the project and in 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill deauthorizing it.
The Meramec project began in fiscal 1968 and construction began in August 1973. It controls runoff for over 1500 square miles of land and contributes to other purposes of the project. Unlike other impoundments, the Meramec has no dependency on another dam. In fact, the Corps hopes to find a solution that will save lives and reduce flood risks. This project will focus on nonstructural solutions rather than the construction of new dams.
The Meramec River was flooded in 1982. The previous winter flood occurred during an El Nino event. Criss compared the 1982 and 2015 floods and found that the peak flood stage at Valley Park and Eureka in 2015 was about three feet higher. The two previous floods were nearly identical, and both were more than a foot higher than the current flood stage. The Meramec River, which carries water from the Mississippi River, is now the only remaining natural source of power in the lower Meramec.
The government is accused of being arbitrary and capricious in making the decision. The government denies the allegations, saying the Corps was not capricious in making the decision, because it was difficult to make. A second case relates to the alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act. As a result of the trial court’s ruling, the Corps must pay compensation to all affected communities. But the Supreme Court is not yet ready to consider whether the Corps acted in an arbitrary manner.
Laurel Run Dam failure
The Laurel Run Dam failure in Missouri is one of the worst water disasters in U.S. history. It caused a major flood that killed 40 people. While the dam was built with high safety standards, the collapse of the dam led to massive damage to nearby homes. The failure is also considered the most significant dam failure in Missouri history. The dam failed due to a series of mechanical and human errors. However, the dam’s designers did not anticipate such a disastrous outcome.
The dam failed in 1977 because the spillway was inadequate. A study conducted in 1943 recommended an upgrade, but the state did not act. The dam’s spillway capacity was less than half of what the state had recommended. This led to the catastrophic failure. In addition, the dam failed due to overtopping. The dam was built by the state in 1916 and was unfinished when it was completed. As a result, the Laurel Run Dam has been the subject of a lengthy legal battle.
When the water level reached the Missouri River, it caused flooding downstream. Rain and snowmelt downstream filled the reservoirs, causing massive amounts of water to spill out. Some of the water had to be released to prevent major floods. The National Weather Service estimates that the reservoirs in the Gavin’s Point Dam alone were filled with enough water by mid-March to cause damage to 460 homes. In fact, the Missouri River level reached a record high that caused the dam to fail.
The report on the dam’s failure also shows that if the dam had been rebuilt according to original specifications, the water level would have been higher than it did. The water level would have continued to rise after the dam’s failure. This further strengthens the conclusion that the dam would have failed regardless of the repairs. The committee’s calculations did not account for the crest overtopping level and did not consider the depth of the spillway.
Laurel Run Reservoir failure
The Laurel Run Reservoir failure in 1977 is one of the worst natural disasters in US history. Nearly half of the dead in the flooding of Johnstown, Missouri, were victims of the dam failure. The dam failed on July 20, 1977, and a flood flooded the city, killing 40 people. The failure occurred due to heavy rainfall and an overtopping of the dam. The result was a massive river that flooded the town.
No one was at the dam site when the dam failed, and no warnings were given prior to the breach. The National Weather Service did not issue flash flood warnings until after the dam breached, and the warnings were vague and did not name specific areas affected. No emergency action plan was in place to warn residents downstream and outline evacuation procedures, and as a result, there was a significant loss of life.
Taum Sauk plant emergency plan
The Upper Reservoir at the Taum Sauk power plant in Missouri was breached in 2005 and billions of gallons of water rushed down the Black River. The crest reached 20 feet. The flood swept away a family of three. They were treated for exposure and injuries. While this disaster was rare, full or partial plant failure is still a real possibility and facility owners must develop crisis plans.
The breach of the upper reservoir at the Taum Sauk plant was the fault of Ameren management. The Missouri Public Service Commission ruled that too much water was pumped into the reservoir. Emergency water level sensors were either not in place or were set too high. The breach took 12 minutes to destroy the plant. A public hearing was held to determine whether Ameren was following an emergency plan in place. The plant’s emergency response plan should have included a plan for a full reservoir breach.
The Taum Sauk plant is located about 120 miles southwest of St. Louis. It was completed in 1963 and is operated by Ameren Missouri. The plant uses a pumped storage facility that stores water from the East Fork of the Black River and pumps it to the upper reservoir during periods of low power demand. The water from the lower reservoir is used to turn electrical generators and pump water back to the mountaintop.
The Taum Sauk plant was built with large storage capacities and high head and is considered the first pure pumped storage plant in the US. Although the plant is highly efficient, it requires considerable energy. Its operators call the facility their “biggest battery” due to its large size and low operational cost. Its operators cite safety concerns, maintenance plans, and the need for a well-developed emergency response plan.