Overtopping of Wisconsin’s White river dam in the US, during recent flooding in April, was averted by the timely opening of the concrete spillway gates.

The flood level at the 94-year-old earth dam, owned and operated by Xcel Energy, had built up to almost the crest level due to a malfunction of the automated system that monitors the level of the reservoir. A transducer failure in the system indicated normal readings while the reservoir level was steadily rising. However, when workers got to the facility the reservoir had reached dangerous levels.

In addition to opening the spillway gates, Xcel activated the emergency action plan for the project, including warning of a potential dam failure.