Daily Archives: 04/10/2006

Taum Sauk Report Cites Poor Design

A damning report about structural inadequacies at the Taum Sauk Reservoir came to light this week. The report by engineering consultants from Paul C. Rizzo Associates cites improperly installed water level sensors and faulty backup systems in place by AmerenUE along with serious design failings in the construction of the dam itself in the 1960’s.

  1. On many days, water was pumped to the edge of the concrete retaining wall around the reservoir.
  2. The dam foundations was not scraped clean of soil.
  3. The rock fill was not compacted during construction.
  4. Too much fine grained fill material, in excess of 25%. Modern rock fill dams require less than 5% fine grain fill.

Basically the dam was structurally deficient and dangerously run, and it was only a matter of time before it burst. I guess Missourians should be happy nobody died in the flood. I hate to think what might have happened if the reservoir collapsed during a summer weekend. Johnson’s Shut Ins State Park was a perennial favorite for weekend campers and day trippers; hundreds could have been caught in a wall of water.