Dam break in Connecticut spotlights growing threat 

January 10, 2024

Unsafe dams are “ticking time bombs” putting communities at risk 

Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145 

Andrew Fisk: 413-407-6484 

A partial dam break on Connecticut’s Yantic River is threatening a downstream community with potentially life-threatening flooding. Authorities have issued a flash flood warning and are evacuating the area. The dam is rated as a high hazard potential by the state’s dam safety office. 

The incident is an example of the growing threat of dam failures to communities nationwide, as infrastructure is aging and climate change is fueling more severe flooding. 

Andrew Fisk, Northeast Regional Director for American Rivers, made the following statement: 

“Dam failures can be disastrous and put lives at risk. This is a wake-up call. Increasingly frequent and severe flooding is straining infrastructure in the Northeast and nationwide. In order to protect communities, we must improve the safety and performance of dams.” 

“Tens of thousands of dams across our country are old and obsolete. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation’s dams a D grade in its report card on the nation’s infrastructure. One of the most cost-effective ways to deal with outdated, unsafe dams is to remove them.” 

“We support the efforts of the community and the Connecticut Dam Safety Program to manage this emergency. American Rivers has advocated in past years to strengthen the dam safety program and get them the resources they need to keep Connecticut’s dams safe.” 

“Congress must act to reauthorize the National Dam Safety Program which supports state dam safety agencies. The program’s authorization expired on September 30, leaving thousands of high-risk dams across the country vulnerable to failure. Aging dams are ticking time bombs. We must help communities invest in necessary repairs and, where appropriate, dam removal and river restoration.” 

About American Rivers    

American Rivers is championing a national effort to protect and restore all rivers, from remote mountain streams to urban waterways. Healthy rivers provide people and nature with clean, abundant water and natural habitat. For 50 years, American Rivers staff, supporters, and partners have shared a common belief: Life Depends on Rivers. For more information, please visit www.AmericanRivers.org