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FEMA implements emergency plan program for Missouri dams

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has launched a new program to insure that Missouri's dams have plans in place in case of an emergency.

Of the more than 450 "high-hazard potential" dams in the state, only 34 have action plans designed to notify emergency responders in an organized manner.

Ronald Butler works with a Kansas City-area company contracted by FEMA to encourage dam owners to implement emergency action plans:

"For instance, in areas around St. Louis and in the Kansas City area, there are a number of dams that are suburban neighborhood-type dams, and some of them do have the plans and some of them don't."

Butler says to his knowledge, none of the dams are facing any type of critical situation, but he also says most of them are getting old. He cites one dam in Kansas City built in the 1920s that doesn't have an emergency action plan.

Missouri's most notorious breach occurred in December 2005, when Ameren's Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Reservoir collapsed and flooded Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park near Lesterville.