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Faulty instruments may have led to reservoir breach

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A breached reservoir in rural southeastern Missouri early Wednesday may have been caused by instrumentation failure.

St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation, which owns the Taum Sauk hydroelectric plant in Reynolds County, says faulty instruments may have caused the upper reservoir to overflow and wash out some fill material that supports the structure.

Ameren President Gary Rainwater.

It was a large breach. There is an opening in the upper reservoir about 600 feet long, Rainwater said. So, a fairly massive breach of the upper reservoir and it probably drained pretty quickly.

About one billion gallons poured out of the reservoir, flooding the Black River and nearby Lesterville. Some homes and vehicles were washed away, and three children were critically injured.

Governor Matt Blunt has issued two State of Emergency Disaster orders to hasten clean up and recovery.