Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 30, 2012

Letters to the Editor: 07/30/2012


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Dam evaluation critical

This is to give my strong agreement as an engineer with Dr. Samarasinghe's July 12 letter to the Record-Eagle regarding the Boardman River dam removals. To remove the dams without an engineering evaluation of the adverse property and safety effects of doing so is irresponsible. A similar analogous situation was the Johnstown flood of 1889, which killed more than 2,000 people.

Dr. Samarasinghe is absolutely correct about the limited ability of sand to absorb water in that once it is saturated, the bulk of the water will stay above the surface and aggravate flooding. Also, engineered designs are controlled by extreme events.

Construction should not start until there is an engineering evaluation of the dam removal. If the evaluation indicates property damage or safety issues, measures need to be taken to correct the safety issues. As stated earlier, to not do so is irresponsible and can endanger human life. It would be like letting people drive without licenses and only have them take the driving test after they have an accident.

Buq Sobkowski

Old Mission