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Letter: Indiana code on dams needs to be updated




Anna Stringer

Indianapolis

To the editor:

As a former resident of Franklin, I was very disheartened to hear about the two teenagers who drowned when caught in the submerged hydraulic jump of the low head or in-channel dam in Edinburgh in June.

The statistic across the nation is that a person is four times more likely to drown as a result of interacting with in-channel dams than to be killed due to the failure of a conventional dam. Statewide, seven people since 2007 have died as a result of the overtopping of an in-channel dam. No one has been killed in the reported history of Indiana by a conventional dam failure.

The state of Indiana has a loophole in its dam code compliance that if the dam is less than 20 feet tall or the dam does not fail when it causes death, the dam does not fall under the Department of Natural Resources’ dam safety regulations.

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