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Army Corps Inspecting Gavins Point Damage

March 30, 2012, 5:59 PM by David Brown

Army Corps Inspecting Gavins Point Damage

It's been nearly a year since the record Missouri River flood and one of the areas hit the hardest was Yankton.  Gavins Point Dam had record releases all summer and now, the Army Corps of Engineers is inspecting the structure for damage.

The scene at Gavins Point Dam looks nothing like it did a mere 10 months ago. While the rush of water is now merely a spout, the damage from last year's flood remains.

"This is one of the last inspections that's going to be done, which is an underwater inspection of our spillway slab by divers," Gavins Point Dam operations manager Dave Becker said.

Becker says they're currently releasing less than 20 percent of last summer's record 160,000 cubic feet per second. But now, contractors hired by the Army Corps of Engineers will be looking for structural deficiencies and try to fix 250 drains used mainly to relieve water pressure.

"There really could be quite a bit of wear and tear," Becker said. "We found about 20 broken ones so far on the dry part of the spillway."

Becker says they'll try and get as much repair work done as they can this summer. But he admits after last year's record flooding, it could take even more time to get everything done.

"The most important repairs that absolutely have to be done right away will be done this year, but some could go out two to three years possibly," Becker said.

That time frame could depend on the weather. And while this year's mild winter is definitely a good sign, Becker remains cautiously optimistic.

"We are all hopeful we have a more normal year than we did last year, but there's still a lot of question marks as far as what's going to happen weather-wise," Becker said.

In the meantime, divers will try to make sure everything above and below the surface is smooth.

Becker says the difference between this year and last year is the Great Plains snowmelt is essentially non-existent.

The inspection is supposed to last one week.

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