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Who keeps Texas dams safe?

Who keeps Texas dams safe?

In my last "Just Ask John, " I explained how the state of New Mexico deals with dam safety. In this post, how the state of Texas ensures the safety of dams.

There are more than 100 dams in the Borderland and nearly half of them are in El Paso County.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a team of engineers who make up the TCEQ's dam safety program. They monitor and regulate about 4,000 dams across the Lone Star State.

Texas, like New Mexico, requires all dams that rank as significant or high-hazard, to have an emergency action plan. That's an evacuation plan to get people downstream out of harm's way, should a dam fail or be at risk of failure, such as what happened at the Oroville Dam in California last week.

Texas law also requires the state's significant and high-hazard dams to be inspected at least once every five years. But if there is a major safety issue with a dam, we may not even know it. Austin TV station, KXAN, reported last week that both federal and state governments now keep information about dams and other critical infrastructure secret. That's because of national security concerns that were raised in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

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