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Lake Delhi, Iowa, Dam Failure

Delhi Dam, Iowa, collapse aerial as seen by governor

On Saturday, July 24, 2010, the Lake Delhi Dam in eastern Iowa collapsed after a powerful storm caused the Maquoketa River to rise two feet higher than its previous record height -- to almost 24 feet. By the next day, the nine-mile lake had drained, and much of the downstream area had flooded. Thankfully, early warning allowed for evacuation and no one was injured.

Delhi Dam, Iowa, locator mapThe 88-year-old dam was last inspected in 2009, and was not classified as a "high hazard." Brad Iarossi, P.E., M.ASCE, a member of ASCE's 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure Advisory Council, spoke to the Des Moines Register about dam safey in the United States on July 26. Click here to read the article. Read continuing coverage of the dam break and its impact in the Register's special report.

ASCE is supporting the Dam Safety and Rehabilitation Act, currently before the U.S. Congress. However, as the bill's benefits would go to "high hazard" dams, the Lake Delhi Dam would not have qualified. As reported in the Report Card, many dams in the U.S. are considered "high hazard," requiring repair. See the Report Card findings

ASCE is also a part of the Dam Safety Coalition. Click here to learn more.