Pat Shingleton: "Dam Damage"
On April 18, 1927, the Great Flood of Louisiana implemented the existing levee system. Imperfect engineering and shoddy construction caused the collapse of dams, such as the Johnstown Flood of 1889. As noted in a previous column, on May 16, 1874, 138 people died due to poor construction and a dam break in Williamsburg, MA. On March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam, in service less than two years, collapsed near Santa Paula, CA., killing 450. February 26, 1972, two coal slag dams along Buffalo Creek in southern West Virginia broke, unloading two miles of backed up water into an exploding lower dam, washing away 4,000 homes with 125 deaths. June 5, 1976, the 305-foot Teton Dam collapsed, releasing 80 billion gallons of water into farmland.