Only Ka Loko Dam missing spillway
The head of the state Civil Defense says all 54 of Kauai's dams have been inspected, and only the breached Ka Loko Dam does not have the key safety feature known as a spillway.
State Adjutant General Robert Lee's comments yesterday at a media briefing on the Ka Loko tragedy's aftermath reinforced statements he made Tuesday that inspecting engineers could not locate the Ka Loko dam's spillway.
Lee's statement Tuesday was immediately rebuffed by an attorney for dam owner James Pflueger, who said that the Ka Loko spillway is a grassy area that remains intact. Attorney William McCorriston also said that the water level never reached the spillway before the dam broke on March 14.
Asked yesterday about the discrepancy, Lee expressed confidence in his statement on Tuesday.
"The (Army) Corps of Engineers told me it wasn't there. And I've worked with the Corps of Engineers for many years on many projects prior to this, and they have a sound engineering basis," he said.
"I have not been in contact with the (dam's) owner or their representative," Lee said, adding that he is leaving the investigation to the state attorney general's office.
In other news from yesterday's briefing:
» State Transportation Director Rod Haraga said work to repair the stretch of Kuhio Highway damaged by the dam breach could begin in as soon a month. He said he hopes to name a contractor as soon as today and that the job will begin in a month or two. Haraga said he is not sure how long the work will take, but that it would surely be completed by the end of the year. One lane of the highway will remain open throughout the work so people and goods can continue to move back and forth to Kauai's North Shore.
» Government and private aid agencies will hold two Disaster Assistance Recovery Centers today and tomorrow on Kauai for anyone affected by the disaster or recent flooding. The centers will be open today at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center and tomorrow at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
» Lee said the inspections found that all 54 Kauai dams pose "no immediate imminent threat at any site." Lee noted that engineers told him Wednesday they want to look further at landslides and erosion near two of Kauai's dams, on the Alexander and Twin reservoirs. "We are not concerned as to the actual structural integrity of the dam itself, but erosion close by on the dam abutments," he said. Representatives of the owners of the dams, Kauai Coffee for the Alexander dam and entertainer Bette Midler for the Twin dam, have been on site and cooperative, he noted.
Lee said he expects to receive a full report from the engineering teams that inspected Kauai's dams as soon as today.
Engineers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Geological Survey conducted the safety check of all Kauai's dams this week at Lee's request. The Corps of Engineers is paying for the Kauai inspections, while the state is paying for inspections on the other islands. The teams will check all dams on Maui, the Big Island and Oahu, in that order, before April 30, Lee said.