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New dam regulations may be on the way for Missouri

April 18, 2006
By: Hayley Salvo
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB1236

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INTRO: In the wake of the Taum Sauk resevoir collapse, the senate has given first round approval to a bill that would increase dam regulations in the state. From the state capitol, Hayley Salvo explains.

Missouri currently regulates about 600 dams around the state but Republican Senator Kevin Engler wants to see that number go up, to about 3,000. That's not all of Missouri's dams, but Engler says its a good compromise.

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"We come with a regulation that inspects five times as many dams as we are currently regulating but doesn't go overboard."

Under the bill, Missouri would have inspection authority over Federal dams, such as Taum Sauk. It would also require inspection of all high hazard dams every two years and of significant hazard dams every five. Dams considered high hazard are probable to cause a high loss of life if the dam in question were to fail, a significant hazard dam would cause high economic losses.

The bill faces another round of debate and a vote before moving to the House.

From the state capitol, I'm Hayley Salvo.

INTRO: Missouri senators gave first round approval of a bill today (Tuesday) that would increase regulation of state dams. The legislation was prompted by last December failure of the Taum Sauk resvoir. In Jefferson City, Hayley Salvo has more.

Republican Senator Kevin Engler's bill would give Missouri the authority to inspect the state's Federal dams as well as about 3,000 other dams under the new guidelines. During debate on the Senate floor, Engler stressed the importance of self-regulation in the wake of the Taum Sauk collapse... Democratic Senator Harry Kennedy agreed.

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"We need to be able to inspect the other five federal dams in the state and if you ask me where they're at, I don't know, I've just been told that they're five of them and we want the ability to inspect them. Again the state has to pick up the slack for the Federal Government... one of those issues. Yeah."

Missouri currently regulates only 600 of the state's nearly 5,000 dams. Under the new legislation, the state will regulate all high hazard dams every two years and all significant hazard dams every five.

The bill also changes the definition of a dam, reducing the height from 35 feet to 25 and including a storage volume of 50 acre-feet of water.

THe bill faces another round of debate and vote before moving to the house.

In Jefferson City, I'm Hayley Salvo.