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Dams Throughout the U.S. Fail to Meet Safety Standards

It's not just Oroville and Elko County. By 2020, 70 percent of the dams in the United States will be more than 50 years old.
February 27, 2017, 5am PST | Elana Eden
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Feather River Dam
A Hydro-electric dam on the Feather River located along Highway 70 between Oroville and Quincy in Northern California.
David Brimm

After the recent crises in Oroville, California and Elko County, Nevada, the New York Times surveys the state of America’s 90,000 dams.

In 2016, officials estimated that the repairs needed to bring the country's dams up to safety standards would cost $60 billion. Of that, about $20 billion would need to be prioritized for dams deemed "high hazard," or likely to cause loss of life in case of failure. The Oroville dam, built in the 1960s, has high hazard potential.

A bill pending in Congress would make grants available for the rehabilitation of publicly owned dams that don't meet safety requirements. But more than half of the dams in the United States are privately owned—including the Twentyone Mile Dam in Elko County, which was built in the early 1900s.

More data, infographics, and maps by clicking through to the original article.

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Published on Thursday, February 23, 2017 in The New York Times
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