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At Least 25 Brazilian Dams at Risk of Breach

10/11/2017 - 11h21

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JOÃO PEDRO PITOMBO
FROM SALVADOR

At least 25 dams across eight Brazilian States have structural issues and require repairs to prevent accidents.

The conclusion is part of the 2016 Dam Safety Report of ANA (National Water Agency), obtained by Folha. This is the first report after Samarco dam disaster in Mariana (MG), the largest environmental disaster in the country, responsible for the death of 19 people in Mariana (MG).

In order to identify dams at risk, ANA heard 43 state and federal inspection agencies. Nine of such agencies indicated 25 dams with structural damages which threaten their safety.

"This figure is obviously underestimated. There are dams which were not subject to a critical analysis carried out directly by the inspection agency," says Alan Vaz Lopes, ANA's deputy-director of inspection.

Out of the 25 dams at risk, 16 are public and 9 private, most of them related to agribusiness. None of them is related to mining or electricity generation. In Alagoas, for example, seven of the dams at risk are located in sugar mills and ethanol plants.

Seresta Mill, in Teotônio Viela (AL), has four dams with insufficient spillways which require expansion. A spillway is a structure designed to regulate water flow in the event of floods.

Canoas dam, at Santa Clotilde Mill, in Rio Largo (AL), has erosion issues in its spillway, which may lead to collapse. Repairs are estimated at R$ 400,000 (US$ 125,000).

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

Read the article in the original language

Christophe Simon/AFP
Aerial view of damages after a dam burst in the village of Bento Rodrigues, in Mariana, Minas Gerais state
Aerial view of damages after a dam burst in the village of Bento Rodrigues, in Mariana, Minas Gerais state

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