After 3 major dams collapsed in the 1970s, leaving a total of 175 people dead, safety precautions, inspections and regulations were put in place. But a two-year investigation by The Associated Press found that at least 1,680 dams in the country are currently a risk for the communities living below the deteriorating structures.
The news outlet reported that hundreds of dams were in “poor or unsatisfactory condition.”
Just two years ago, in 2017, the spillway of Oroville Dam in California, the tallest in the nation, suffered severe damage after flooding. Almost 200,000 people were evacuated, and the Sacramento Bee later found that despite California’s robust dam safety inspections, owners of the dams “often allow deficiencies to linger for years.”