Historic Maryland Dam Could Breach: Officials

Heavy rains could cause dam to fail

By Michelle Tetu
|  Monday, Feb 22, 2010  |  Updated 5:01 PM EDT
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Historic Maryland Dam Could Breach: Officials

unforth/Flickr.com

Antietam Creek

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A 100-year-old dam across the Antietam Creek in Washington County, Md., is in danger of failing, according to state regulators.

There are holes in the 9-foot stone masonry structure located inside Devil's Backbone County Park in Sharpsburg, according to a 2001 study by Washington County officials.  Heavy rains could cause it to fail.

While there are no major residential structures downstream of the dam, a failure could endanger life and property, state regulators said. A breach could also create environmental problems.

Devil's Backbone County Park is Washington County's second oldest public park. The 9-acre park has hiking trails, fishing and canoe trips down Antietam Creek.

A $1.4 million proposal to encase the dam in concrete has drawn criticism from the Maryland Historical Trust.

The Maryland Department of the Environment is considering ordering county officials to immediately repair, breach or remove the dam, according to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
 

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