Meeting May Have Been Overkill


By Jon A. Brake

Never met a government agency that didn't like to use overkill to get what they want. In the case of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers they have the weapon, it's called Tuttle Creek Dam.

The Dam is located just six miles up stream from downtown Manhattan on the Big Blue River. And, according to the Corps of Engineers it has some Faults. Not that it is their Fault.

Tuttle Creek Dam was built during the 1950's using 1940's technology and design on the Humboldt Fault. "At the time of the design, little was known about Kansas earthquakes and the potential effect of earthquakes on dams or the soils under them." Now, after fifty years the call comes in loud and clear: "Manhattan we have a problem."

If that is not enough, the Corps of Engineers is gearing up for two floods, at the same time. They want us to imagine the 1993 flood being held back by Tuttle Creek Dam and the near disaster it caused when the Corps released water over the spillway. Got that in mind? Water two inches from the top of the spillway gates, now the Corps wants you to add the 1951 flood on top of that water.

Overkill! Too much information! How can Tuttle Creek take the 1993 and 1951 floods at the same time? It can not. That is the reason for the meeting last Monday night. The Corps of Engineers have started the "Dam Safety Assurance Program" and they want the citizens of Manhattan to take part.

The Corps of Engineers Headquarters have approved the Evaluation Report on Tuttle Creek Dam and now detailed design of any measures to address the dam safety issues will be completed. They will be asking the public for input.

This issue of the Free Press will give you as much information as space will allow.