Even more dams in New York State are on a list of systems that are in poor condition and considered “high hazard” should they fail.

A report by the Associated Press found the number up substantially from four years ago with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation making an effort to rate more of the dams it regulates.

One dam on the list is in Ithaca where the City could be sunk under up to 15 feet of water if it fails during heavy rain. Ithaca officials say a failure is not likely but work is underway now with consultants on plans for improvements and securing funding for expensive upgrades.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

The Associated Press reports dozens of dams that are in poor condition across New York state are upstream from homes, highways or businesses and that poses potential threats to people if they fail.

The analysis from the news organization found 90 “high-hazard” dams in New York that also were rated in poor condition — a marked increase from several years ago.  A.P. says a high-hazard designation does not mean a dam is in danger of failing, but it is likely, in the event of a failure, human lives will be lost. Deficiencies include cracks, seepage and inadequate spillway capacity, according to inspection reports.

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The report points to New York State moving to rate more dams for a driving factor in the jump in numbers. There are more previously unrated dams that have been evaluated in recent years. Most dams are government-operated. 11 dams are in the New York State Parks system. Twenty-five high-hazard dams are privately owned.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says it has been rating more of the dams they regulate, increasing the portion with ratings to 87%, up from 49% in 2018.

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