DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The annual infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers is out and the state of Alabama received a “C-.”
Out of the 12 categories on the report card, 11 of them received a grade but there was one area that was labeled with a question mark.
“In the case of dams, we have insufficient information,” TTL Incorporated Senior Civil Engineer, Steve Newton said. “We do not have enough information to assign a grade. So it is incomplete, question mark, however, you want to look at it. That’s the sad state of affairs we’re in here in Alabama.”
Alabama is the only state in the country that does not have a safety program to ensure that dams are safely constructed and maintained.
With over 2,200 dams registered in the state, 227 of them are classified as a high potential hazard. This classification is assigned to dams that are expected to result in significant property damage or loss of life if they were to fail.
In the Wiregrass, eight dams are in that category, none of which have an emergency action plan.
“Of the 227 high potential hazard dams we have in Alabama, some have these plans, evacuation plans, but many of them do not,” Newton said. “So the public is unsuspecting, it doesn’t know it has an issue.”
The American Society of Civil Engineers is trying to get the word out to the public and to local lawmakers in hopes of bringing attention to deficiencies in the state infrastructure, including dams, where the report states, “Are out of sight and out of mind to the public.”