Truman Dam safety rating downgraded; could be unsafe for residents downstream

1 year 5 months 3 weeks ago Monday, April 08 2019 Apr 8, 2019 Monday, April 08, 2019 3:00:00 PM CDT April 08, 2019 in News
By: Emma Claybrook, KOMU 8 Reporter and Jim Riek, KOMU 8 Anchor
loading

WARSAW - The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) downgraded Truman Dam’s safety rating from a four to a two, which means it could be potentially unsafe. 

The dam safety classification number is on a scale from one to five, five being good and one being bad.

The USACE’s decision to downgrade from low urgency to high urgency could seem like a big deal, but the downgrade is a warning with a disclaimer. 

“It is operating as designed,” dam safety expert Scott Mensing said. “It is structurally sound and is in very good condition.” 

Mensing said Truman Dam was downgraded because of potential risk for flooding downstream in places like the Lake of the Ozarks. The high urgency rating is based on the population and the development downstream, not the dam itself. 

“The level is relevant to the risk with the dam,” he said. “The Corps will do everything we can to reduce the risk of flooding, but we can’t stop flooding.” 

USACE held a public meeting in early March for residents and community members who live along and downstream of Truman Lake. 

Rozella Stewart used to live in a farm house on land that was excavated to create Truman Lake in 1964. She came to the meeting after reading about the safety rating change in the local newspaper. 

“On the front page of our paper here in Warsaw, it said it was potentially unsafe,” Stewart said. “But, it also said there was no immediate danger. That’s kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it?”

Even after the meeting, Stewart still felt worried. 

“I think it’s a whole bunch of hype, but there’s not a Truman Dam thing we can do about it,” she said.

Tom Osenga was the first Missouri Water Patrolman on Truman Lake when the dam was completed in 1979. He said people came to the meeting to hear about the worst case scenario with the dam. 

“The rating is kind of confusing. I agree with that,” Osenga said. “But, you’re looking at a one in a million, ‘Oh my gosh, the dam fell down!’. And that’s not going to happen.” 

Connie Hensley, another Benton County resident, read the warning and was scared, but said she eventually heard what she wanted to hear at the meeting.

“What helped me was when they said the two was only because of the potential risk downstream and that the dam is structurally sound,” she said. “That put me at ease.”

Mensing said most residents along the lake were worried about property damage, but he thinks he achieved his goal of educating them about dam safety. 

“Sure, economic consequences are taken into account,” he said. “But, life safety is number one. It’s paramount that that is set above property damage.”

More News

Grid
List
(CNN) -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was laid to rest Tuesday morning in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.... More >>
25 minutes ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 1:16:00 PM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- KOMU 8's Jordan Berger sat down virtually with Jane Lynch, new host of the reboot of the Weakest Link.... More >>
57 minutes ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 12:44:00 PM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) -- Kansas City patrol officers will begin wearing body cameras early next year. The police department says... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 12:06:00 PM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- When 5-year-old Carver learned about the wildfires ravaging his home state of Oregon, he told his grandmother Sasha... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:42:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY- The Boone County Sheriff's Department responded to a shots fired incident at the intersection of Mauller Road and... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:33:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
MISSOURI- As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. The... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:00:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Summer's over, but the pandemic persists. The days are getting shorter and colder. And the next few months... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:36:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 9:00:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
(CNN) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who have cut several major deals during the coronavirus... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 8:43:45 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
MEXICO, Mo. — The Mexico Public Safety Department responded to a report of a gunshot wound around 2 p.m. Monday.... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 8:23:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Game night looks different at restaurants and bars with the health order and social distancing measures. Columbia... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 7:40:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
CLEVELAND (AP) — In an election year like no other, the first debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 7:25:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
Columbia utility disconnections start next Monday The City of Columbia will resume utility disconnections on Monday, Oct. 5. This... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 5:30:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
BALTIMORE (AP) — It wasn’t just that Patrick Mahomes threw for a ton of yards and four touchdowns. Most impressive... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 5:02:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
This article was updated by CNN at 10:58 p.m., Monday, Sept. 28. NEW YORK (CNN) — Microsoft 365 was... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 5:00:00 AM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
NEW DELHI (AP) — The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 1 million. The milestone, recorded by Johns... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 7:58:50 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia will resume utility disconnections on Monday, Oct. 5. This gives customers one week to... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 7:38:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou soccer announced Monday night that fan attendance for home games during the 2020 fall season will be... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 6:33:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in Sports
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 63°
2pm 63°
3pm 64°
4pm 65°
5pm 65°