State of Emergency Declared Over Faulty Dam Warning System


A tiny community in Washington state announced a state of emergency this week after a warning system for a dam that guarded the city from being inundated by a reservoir erroneously activated four times since 2020, according to local authorities.

The alarm system in Carnation, which is located near the junction of the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers and is about 30 miles east of Seattle, is designed to notify locals to leave if the Tolt Dam collapses.

The false warnings have caused fear in the 2,300-person community and created “concerns and doubts about the City of Seattle’s ability to operate the Tolt Dam,” according to a press release from the city of Carnation.

The Carnation website states that false alarms continue to be a problem and that Seattle Public Utilities is now trying to replace its system with new technology and equipment. The most recent system failure, which was reported on August 22, led to the declaration of a state of emergency on Wednesday.

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Endurance and Frustration

Carnation Mayor Jim Ribail told CNN that “this council has been working really hard since 2020 to try to get a resolution to this situation.” “At this point, the city council and staff are all completely tired of this.”

The matter, according to Ribail, has to be “fast-tracked.” Seattle Public Utilities sent a statement to CNN stating that they are “currently in active discussions with Carnation officials and our emergency partners on how to best meet community expectations following a false alarm of the Tolt Dam Early Warning System that sounded in and around the city on August 22.”

In the statement, it was said that “SPU takes incidents like this seriously and sincerely apologizes for any confusion or concern the false alarm may have caused residents.”

Residents of Carnation have been instructed to rapidly move to higher ground in accordance with the procedure in order to prevent getting flooded. To get to a predetermined safe area, they can use a dirt or paved path.

To prepare citizens for a potential dam failure, the city conducts regular exercises. Every Wednesday at noon, a siren test and prerecorded messages are activated.

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Source: CNN

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