The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Enrique Perez De La Rosa
WNPA Olympia News Bureau 

Dam safety state priority; few failures in over century


March 22, 2017


The Chalfa Dam in Okanogan County, one of several Washington dams to overtop in recent years.

After the Oroville Dam crisis last month forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate their California homes, Washingtonians may wonder if the dams that surround them are in danger of failing.

Dams in all 39 counties are regulated and inspected either by the state Department of Ecology or by federal dam safety engineers.

In January 2009, a leak at the Howard A. Hanson Dam on the Green River threatened the downstream communities of Kent, Auburn, Tukwila and Renton. At that time the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the dam's inspection and maintenance, did not believe it was failing. Although danger to residents in the Green River Valley increased, there were no evacuat...

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