Flooding pushes Blue Earth County dam to ‘imminent failure condition’

Published 2:33 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

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By Hannah Yang and Anna Haecherl, Minnesota Public Radio News

Officials in Blue Earth County are closely monitoring the Rapidan Dam southwest of Mankato Monday amid concerns about a potential dam failure.

The county says the rain-swollen Blue Earth River has cut around the west side of the dam and there are concerns about debris in the river.

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Blue Earth County Sheriff Jeff Wersal described the the dam as being in “imminent failure condition.” It’s unknown whether the dam will completely fail or stay in place.

Only two residents were identified in the emergency operations plan near the dam. Mankato is currently not in imminent danger of another flood, Wersal said.

“You know, it’s gonna raise the water level. But for right now, our main concern is debris in the water. But it is a mess currently,” he said.

Wersal says if the threat rises then the public will be notified.

Xcel Energy reported nearly 600 customers were without power after flood waters washed away a substation near the dam.

The Blue Earth River flows north into the Minnesota River in Mankato. Authorities are notifying residents downstream of the dam.

The dam is owned by Blue Earth County. It was built between 1908-1910

Rivers across southern Minnesota are in flood stage in the wake of recent torrential rain.

This is a developing story. More reporting to come.