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Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now
4

Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Most of this is government stuff, mismanaged and no incentive to fix it.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

The Wisconsin picture is a spot that was one of my favorite fishing holes when I lived in Milwaukee. Surprisingly vibrant urban fishery with trout, salmon and pike.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

For Kansas the dams on the lakes are in the article, but living in Kansas long term issue are the lakes behind the dams. The lakes are silting up. In 30 years the dams will be an odd feature for the prairie land where the lakes used to be.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Silted up shallow lakes is a good resource for soil to cover eroded land. Look at the sand pits in central Kansas along the river for how to harvest this resource.

But this is something that someone can make a profit on. So it's not really a big government issue to fix.
Unless you like government trash service (over priced, not very efficient, and does not compete well with for profit companies).

And maybe that's the key on some of the issues, make them a profit motive for companies to fix.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

@cranky108 - or maybe insufficient funding because taxes are too low?

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

"(over priced, not very efficient, and does not compete well with for profit companies)."

For profit companies simply nickel and dime you to death. Just look at what the airlines have stopped offering for "free" and now, there are certain airlines where they charge you to carry the clothes you need to wear at your destination. Utilities are doing that sort of thing as well; their "responsibility" ends at the far end of their meters, and anything else will cost you. They still provide pilot light servicing for free, but I can't imagine that staying that way.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Pilot lighting is a marketing requirement. By doing so they get a chance for an on-site inspection, which means a chance to detect a gas leak. Blowing homes to bits is a negative advertising event for a gas company, so I think that service will last a while.

On an historic note - the electric light bulb was invented to counter gas explosions in cities. If the gas pressure dropped, the gas lamps would stop burning and if no one was home or noticed, when the pressure came back the dwelling had a good chance of going boom! I think this was before ethyl mercaptan was introduced, so gas leaks were in no conventional way detectable.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

If taxes are too low, exactly what is enough? Ask and the only answer is MORE, MORE, MORE.

Actually there are safety requirements for gas utilities, which is why they light pilots. IT's REQUIRED, by law. And that cost is added to your gas bill, in a round about way.



RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

"With 6,087, Kansas trails only Texas for the most dams in the nation."

Well, that was a fun fact, but I'm scratching my head wondering what counts as a dam. Wikipedia lists only 24 reservoirs in Kansas. I know of a handful of other named dams/lakes, and I'm sure there are... maybe a few hundred I've never heard of? Even that sounds like a stretch. We don't have enough dam-worthy creeks and rivers to support 6,087 dams. They must be counting every homemade pasture dam and large road ditch to get to that number!

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Sounds like those Kansas beavers have been pretty busy out there.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Counting stock tanks and watering troughs.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Actually Kansas has a large number of dams on smaller valleys (because Kansas is flat), to slow down water flow to prevent flooding. The fact that they are small is why there is so many of them.

But to call them dams is a...well jump... to say the least, because many of them have small culverts in them, as to limit water flow exiting the small valleys.

These are by no means lake type of dams, like I suspect you are thinking. They are flood control dams, so they normally hold no water.

Most watering ponds are owned by ranchers, who take care of them, not the state. But if they pay a fee the state will put fish in them.

But the types of dams in Kansas could be a lesson in flood control that other places could learn from.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Quote (http://www.damsafety.org/media/Documents/STATE_INF...)


Federal law and the ASDSO Model State Dam Safety Program define a dam as “any artificial barrier,
including appurtenant works, which impounds or diverts water, and which (1) is twenty-five feet or more
in height from the natural bed of the stream or watercourse measured at the downstream toe of the barrier,
or from the lowest elevation of the outside limit of the barrier, if it is not across a stream channel or
watercourse, to the maximum water storage elevation; or (2) has an impounding capacity at the maximum
water storage elevation of fifty acre-feet or more.
This definition does not apply to any such barrier which is not in excess of six feet in height, regardless of
storage capacity or which has a storage capacity at maximum water storage elevation not in excess of
fifteen acre-feet, regardless of height, (PL 92-367; Dam Safety Act of 1972) unless such barrier, due to its
location or other physical characteristic, is likely to pose a significant threat to human life or property in
the event of its failure.” (PL 99-662, Water Resources Development Act of 1986).

This does show that Kansas has in excess of 5000 dams based on the above criteria:

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

btw, according to the 2016 NATIONAL INVENTORY OF DAMS Kansas has 6403 dams, while Texas has 7395, and there's a total of 90580 dams in the US.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

High profile dam breach

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhitMeXP0fA

Lake Delton was (is?) the center of a major tourist attraction in southern Wisconsin, the Tommy Bartlett water ski/sky/whatever show. Also many not-so-modest vacation homes with varying degrees of seaworthiness.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

So...people were allowed to build along the dam wall, adjacent to the spillway?

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

ok, no, never mind. The wikipedia article explains.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Speaking of earthen dams in Wisconsin, back in October, 1968, while an Army ROTC cadet, we went on an inspection trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota to see some of the flood control projects being done on the Upper Mississippi River basin by the Army Corps of Engineers (ours was an Corp of Engineers ROTC battalion) and one of the stops was in Spring Valley, WI, situated on the Eau Galle River, approximately midway between Minneapolis, MN and Eau Clair, WI. Here the Corp was building what was to become the one of the largest earthen dams in the world, designed to control flooding on the Eau Galle River, a tributary of the Mississippi. Here are a couple of photos I took back in 1968:



This shows the dam nearing completion (taken with a Minolta SR-1)



And this photo shows the Eau Galle River and what was to become the Eau Galle Reservoir (AKA Lake George), which can be seen in the image below, taken from Google, showing what the area looks like today:



Note the size of the dam compared the town of Spring Valley (pop approx 1,400) just below it.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Well, I just checked back in, and this conversation has gotten pretty dammed interesting.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Poor District of Columbia. Can't make the list because it is not a state and it has a huge problem that will probably take 4 to 8 years to fix.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

With the lack of qualified administrators beging appointed to their posts, it might even be finished before it starts. Of course the Rep will never approve funding, so starting anything at all will be a real long shot.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Change doesn't stop. It's just an illusion that change is not happening.

The optimist states everything is fine. The pessimist states everything is broken.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

"America" has more than 50 other things to fix before these ever will.

Kinda strange,,, to an outsider, the "dam belt" of MO, KS, OK, TX. Makes me wonder about federal money, timing, etc.. It's possible (likely?) that many of them were constructed to satisfy a spec to acquire "dam" status and government assistance, since the natural elevation changes and terrain may have made that easy in that area. I'll guarantee that not one 24' dam has been constructed since that 25' definition came into place, unless NOT being a "dam" made money for a developer or other politically connected individual.

.

(Me,,,wrong? ...aw, just fine-tuning my sarcasm!)

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Why would there be federal dam assistance? There is money for dam safety oversight, but that just means more government on private land looking to ensure the dams are safe. Even then it doesn't cover everything it should, as seen by the pumped storage reservoir at Taum Sauk. http://www.semissourian.com/story/1131499.html

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

That's the myth of government funding. It will only be paid for if there is a shown need.

Define the 'need' level, and everything will meet that level.

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

It's a bit strange that we settled on, of all things, talking about dams, then this comes up.
"Why would there be federal dam assistance?"

Here's the need!

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

The irony is that California has one of the best records among the states when it comes to the inspection of dams. What we're seeing here is the result of what some would say was an "Act of God" or perhaps "caused by Mother Nature". Whatever, I suspect that it was not something, particularly with the recent history of droughts in the state, that could have been foreseen. Granted, there are reports that the dam is approaching the 'end' of its 'design life', but there are hundreds, if not thousands of dams in other parts of the country that are well past their 'design life'.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

""Why would there be federal dam assistance?""

Only when the states decide suddenly it's a federal problem, while all the while prior to this, they were complaining about the US Army Corps of Engineers as a meddlesome PITA that's forcing the states to spend money where it isn't needed.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

I don't mean to jump to any conclusions or make a faulty assumption, but based on timing, I'll respond to the post "why federal..." by saying that fudging the height of a dam, in this country, would not indicate or require any bait on a federal level. I didn't mean to insinuate such. Putting the words "why" and federal" in the same sentence makes a pretty murky soup with a political base.

.

(Me,,,wrong? ...aw, just fine-tuning my sarcasm!)

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Not sure I understood that comment, but I'm sure you know that the Federal Gov is typically looked at, rightly or wrongly, to take up any "slack" and blame after failures at either the state or federal level are thought to cause this kind of thing to happen.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

If you read the USACE's various sites, dams are required to have more than height, the 25-ft height ALSO requires 15-acre-ft water storage AND possibility of loss of human life if dam fails. Moreover, the USACE has jurisdiction of navigable waterways of the US, so dams on tiny creeks in your back 40 don't count.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Haven't you heard IR? The EPA classifies those as navigable waterways now.

In fact, some drainage ditches on the sides of highways are navigable. Even when they are dry.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeleef/2015/02/06/...

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

You imply that roadside drainage is considered navigable to redicule regulation. It is not a fact that drainage of highways is the regulatory equivalent of navigable waters as you imply. You are mixing up two separeate responsibilities, that of responsibility for navigable waters and that of wetlands protection. It is not a requirement that in order to regulate wetlands habitats they must drain into a navigable waterway. Drainage on sides of highways can and often does drain immediately into an adjacent wetlands that requires protection, but which may never reach a navigable stream or waterway.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

You're right, I exaggerated in my attempt to make a joke (And out of my wife's frustration dealing with the EPA on this issue).

For the curious, here's a current set of guidance. It appears they've rolled this back slightly from the original language:
https://www.epa.gov/cwa-404/guidance-identify-wate...

(I still think it's overreaching by the EPA/ACOE, but that's not the dam subject)

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

That's just recognition that the days of willy-nilly dumping crap everywhere and anywhere are long gone and the sooner people recognize that what they dump has consequences for other people the better off we are. Back in the 70s, people would have to die or get sick in huge clusters and spend years suing and collecting statistics and expert testimony before companies were legally held responsible for environmental damage.

Ironically, "pro-life" apparently does not demand environmental protection to the fullest extent.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

Then maybe someday the EPA will be willing to clean up there own mess. What an example they set releasing mine tailing water into a river.

The issue of dams and dam safety is about to get a whole lot more attention soon.

But what about the other issues?

So many of these are private or local concerns that should not require Federal monies. Local roads, bridges, power lines, railroads, to name a few.

Many of the dams are to protect local communities.

The one thing I saw that is Federal, is the locks.


RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

"What an example they set releasing mine tailing water into a river."

No doubt, but they're only human and make mistakes. By that argument, given the Millenium Tower fiasco in SF, private industry invariably has additional motivations from doing the right thing, they can't be put into positions of responsibility either.

State and local jurisdictions tend not to have sufficient resources to properly manage and oversee things like this. Alabama just recently revealed that they've been completely ignoring their federal AND state mandates for high school education and have simply been graduating woefully undereducated high school seniors in order to goose the state's graduation rates and now these students are failing in college in huge numbers. For something where there were ostensibly binary decision points about graduation eligibility, they failed miserably to manage the outcome.

This is probably why the USACE was given the charter to manage inland waterways in at least a supposedly systematic and uniform manner.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Popular Mechanics Article: 50 States, 50 Things America Must Fix Now

For nearly 200 years now.

The General Survey Act of 1824 authorized the use of Army engineers to survey road and canal routes. That same year Congress passed an "Act to Improve the Navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers" and to remove sand bars on the Ohio and "planters, sawyers, or snags" (trees fixed in the riverbed) on the Mississippi, for which the Corps of Engineers was the responsible agency.


Responsibilities are far greater today,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_C...

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

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