The Senate has approved its version of legislation that would change registration, inspection, and operating procedures for hundreds of reservoirs and dams in the state. The Senate version of House Bill 159 would require any dam that is 25 feet high that has the potential for loss of life in the event of a break to be inspected. Furthermore, any dam or reservoir meeting those criteria would be required to have special permits before the structures could be built.
Senator Kevin Engler (R-Farmington), the Senate sponsor, represents the district in which the Taum Sauk Reservoir is located. He says it was the collapse of the reservoir in December of 2005 that serves as the impetus for this legislation, adding strengthening of the standards should be what he would call a "no brainer."
The Senate and House versions have important differences which must be ironed out before the bill can be sent to the Governor. Engler says the House version is weaker than the Senate version in that it would result in the inspection of fewer dams than the number inspected right now. He adds that is not the purpose of this legislation.