60-foot Crack in a Rural Utah Dam is Allowing Water to Flow Out, Harming the Town Nearby!

60-foot Crack in a Rural Utah Dam is Allowing Water to Flow Out, Harming the Town Nearby!

A 60-foot break burst in a rural Utah dam, sending water spilling into a creek and putting the 1,700 people of a hamlet downstream in jeopardy. Workers quickly attempted to shore up the dam.

Although they don’t believe the Panguitch Lake Dam will burst anytime soon, state and municipal officials have advised the locals to be ready to flee if the situation becomes worse. The Utah Division of Water Rights’ assistant state engineer for dam safety, Everett Taylor, estimated that it would take multiple days to lower the reservoir to below the impacted region.

As of Wednesday night, around 45 feet (about 14 meters) of the crack had been filled in with boulders, and about 2 feet (61 cm) of water still lay above it, he added.

According to Taylor, the dam was being pushed upon by an ice sheet on the reservoir, which caused the top to split and lean downstream, letting water pour through the gap. According to him, the ice sheet has now separated from the dam and the dam’s top has tipped back.

Taylor stated, “In order to release the pressure against the dam, we have made cuts across that ice sheet.”

Panguitch is a town of roughly 1,800 people located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) downstream from the dam. On Wednesday, a community gathering was planned to provide updates and address queries from the locals. Circleville, another small hamlet, is situated downstream and therefore less vulnerable.

During an inspection on Monday night, local authorities found the break in the top section of the dam, and on Tuesday, Utah state officials made the public aware of it.

Large boulders are being trucked in and placed on the downstream side of the dam to strengthen the wall, and water is being discharged at a rate of over 260 cubic feet (6.5 cubic meters) per second to draw down the reservoir behind the fracture. It’s not supposed to rain until Saturday.

Although the dam was constructed in the late 1800s, the top section that cracked was added in the 1930s and 1940s. According to Taylor, there had never been any prior worries about the structural stability of the dam.

“No one saw this coming,” he added, adding that the advancements achieved are encouraging.

It was classified by state officials as a level 2 breach risk, which indicates the possibility of a dam failure and is in the center of the three-prong scale.

Taylor stated, “We are going to keep our attention on drawing the reservoir down, ensuring that the ice stays off the dam, and continuing to buttress or support this downstream side.”

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