Lawrence area has five unsafe dams, according to state
The Lawrence area has five unsafe dams, including two owned by the city of Oskaloosa on lakes south of that city, according to a state agency.
The state's Division of Water Resources this week released a list of 34 dams across the state that it says are unsafe. Of the 34, half are privately owned by individuals or organizations, while the others are owned by municipalities or watershed districts.
The list includes structures that have either physical problems or spillways that are too small to contain backed-up water if the dam breaks.
In Oskaloosa, both the Upper Oskaloosa City Dam and the Oskaloosa City Lake dam were deemed to have a "high" hazard rating by the state.
City council member James White said the Oskaloosa City Council last week discussed the problem after receiving a letter from the state.
The council decided to have trees and brush cleaned from both dams, which he said was part of the problem.
"We want to get the trees and brush off of the dam, then follow up with the agency ... and have them look at it again to let us know of anything else we might need to do," he said.
The three other unsafe dams in the area, according to the state, are in Linwood, DeSoto and Tonganoxie.
The Linwood dam, called the Sarcoxie Lake dam, is owned by the Sarcoxie Homeowners Assn. The dam in Tonganoxie is owned by Wayne Finch and the one in DeSoto is owned by James D. Carpenter, according to the state.
The hazard level was rated "high" for Carpenter's dam and "significant" for the other two.
High-hazard dams are defined as those in which failure would cause the loss of several lives and where more than one residence, major business development or transportation facility could be endangered by a failure.
Significant-hazard dams are defined as those in which failure could cause loss of life or damage to buildings, roads, railroads, water supplies and other infrastructure.