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Rapidan Dam in Minnesota Faces Imminent Failure Amid Record Flooding



Rapidan Dam In Minnesota Faces Imminent Failure Amid Record Flooding

The Rapidan Dam in Minnesota is in a precarious state following recent flooding of the Blue Earth River, with officials warning of imminent failure.

The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office raised concerns after the river eroded around the dam, creating debris buildup and placing it in an unstable condition.

Located outside the city of Monkato, just southwest of Minneapolis, the dam’s situation intensified as the river cut through, leading to an urgent notification by authorities.

An Xcel Energy substation at the dam was washed away, impacting approximately 600 customers, as the company mobilizes to restore power and address the damages.

Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz addressed the crisis, attributing the heightened risks to the state’s recent heavy rainfall totaling 18 inches over a few weeks.

With 40 counties already experiencing flooding and some declaring emergencies, Gov. Waltz mentioned a potential request for federal assistance pending damage assessments.

The dam, in operation since 1910 and managed by the county, faces long-standing structural issues exacerbated by recurrent flooding events.

A 2021 evaluation highlighted the need for costly repairs or replacement, emphasizing the potential public safety hazards and financial liabilities of inaction.

Community feedback is sought as the county weighs options between extensive repair work lasting several years or a decade-long process for constructing a new dam.

Furthermore, Blue Earth County initiated procedures to cede regulatory authority over the dam to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, signaling a significant shift in oversight.

Rachel Adams

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