Taum Sauk Hearings Continue

9 years 7 months 3 days ago July 26, 2007 Jul 26, 2007 Thursday, July 26 2007 Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:11:22 PM CDT in News
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One of Ameren's project engineers testified that he told Ameren management the reservoir needed repairs weeks before it failed.

At Wednesday's hearing, an Ameren employee testified publicly for the first time.

"I do suspect someone at Ameren does know the truth," Public Service Commissioner Jeff Davis said, "and they need to own up to that."

Before project engineer Steve Bluemner said that Ameren dragged its feet on needed repairs, questioning got heated with a consultant for Ameren.

Tony Zamberlan, a former Ameren consultant, continued his testimony from Tuesday and answered questions from commissioners and a lawyer from Ameren about water level sensors that were removed.

Ameren lawyers essentially tried to place blame on Zamberlan for not warning the company about safety concerns, a claim he disputed.

"Based on an entire analysis of the system, I didn't see any issues with that," Zamberlan said.

Zamberlan failed to recall details from several meetings regarding the dam.

Commissioners questioned Zamberlan as to why Ameren re-hired and paid him to investigate following the accident.

Commissioner Davis said it's important that the state gets to the bottom of the issue.

"I feel it's my moral authority to find the truth for the state of Missouri," he said.

The collapse dumped more than one billion gallons of water in southeast Missouri.

That rush of water destroyed Johnson's Shut-Ins state park. It's now partially open.

Davis said he doesn't believe those who testified today were responsible for the dam break and he's not sure he can punish those directly responsible.

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