State Working to Improve Dam Safety

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Wednesday marks one year since the Kaloko Dam Breach on Kauai killed 7 people.

Since then, state officials say they've taken steps to upgrade Hawaii's dam safety program.

"Oh I think we've learned a lot and that we can't have any kind of lapse in inspections," said Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, state adjutant general.

All regulated dams have been inspected.

"They're safe at this point. We'll continue the checks and be very vigilant to make sure they're safe for the people of Hawaii," said Lee.

They've enhanced the dam safety program, providing training to all dam owners in Hawaii.

"Approximately 200 people attended. That was training in inspection as well as emergency preparedness," said Peter Young, director of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources.

The state is working with civil defense agencies to improve the emergency action plan for the dams and it's added more staff members to the dam safety program.

"We have another request for 2 additional people as well as over $20 million for capital improvement for the repairs necessary," said Young.

DLNR will work with the Pacific Disaster Center to conduct a dam break model. It's to find out who may be at risk if dams fail.

Governor Linda Lingle's administration proposes to spend more than $30 million to assess and maintain dams and reservoirs on all of the islands.

They say they're working hard to make sure this tragedy never happens again.