MDEQ checking dams prior to forecasted rain

Dam inspectors keeping watch ahead of bad weather

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “Right now, we have 6,800 dams on our inventory for the state,” said William McKercher, chief of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Dam Safety Division.

He said the dams are inspected yearly and every five years, an engineer inspects them too.

“We look at the spillway, which is the outlets for the water so that when there’s a rainfall event, the water comes out. We look at those areas for erosion, what we call piping. We also look at slopes of the dam to look for erosion features, as well as general overall health and maintenance on the structure," explained McKercher.

The recent rainfall in the metro had experts monitoring different areas like Oktibbeha County Lake and the reservoir; “Ross Barnett is actively monitoring the water level and controlling the gate structure so that they can keep up with the flow. But during that time, they also have people going in and inspecting the dam."

McKercher said you can see what dams are near your home using the MDEQ interactive map online.

Some of the marked dams even have posted inspection reports and action plans if something goes wrong.

“Any given time, any dam can fail but the reality is is that, that’s why we have the program in place," said McKercher.

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.