National panel assesses cause of Delhi Dam breach - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

National panel assesses cause of Delhi Dam breach


MANCHESTER (KWWL) -- Progress continues in Delhi as many people are recovering from the floods. But there are still many unanswered questions. A national panel of engineers has assembled to determine the cause of the dam breach. Thursday night that panel met with residents in Delaware County.

Dozens of concerned people gathered inside the Pizza Ranch in Manchester. It was their first opportunity to talk with a national panel of engineers who spent the last week assessing the Lake Delhi Dam breach.

"Obviously that information is important to us. Because if eventually there is a decision to rebuild that dam then obviously you don't wanna repeat mistakes that were made in the past," DNR Spokesperson Kevin Baskins said.

Several people expressed concern about excessive rain fall before the breach, improper management of water levels and possible upstream problems. Panel members say they're gathering information, hoping to compile a timeline of events and eventually determine the cause of the breach.

"The original design of the dam, the configuration of the dam that's certainly a part of it. The hydrology, the flood event that occurred and trying to get a handle of that," U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation William Fiedler said.

Along with the magnitude of the floods and the changing of water flow over time. But the panel isn't focusing on the future. In fact they have no say in what happens to the dam.

"To look at lessons learned and not just in Delhi Dam but for anybody involved in dam safety. And what can be done differently to prevent things like this form happening across the country," Fiedler said.

Perhaps all they'll do is offer piece of mind for those affected by the breach, and allow them to continue moving forward.

The national panel isn't the same as the task force put in place by Governor Chet Culver, that group meets Friday morning at Maquoketa Valley Schools at 10:00 am.

The national panel of engineers hopes to have release preliminary findings to the Governor's task force in November. Their complete report and conclusions of the study won't be released until December.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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