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Research@Mines Archive:
May, 2020

The Aging Water Infrastructure of America and the Need for a New Crop of Water Scientists and Engineers

The Teton Dam failure of 1976 is one example of the need for future engineers who can address America’s ageing infrastructure. Photo credit: Association of State Dam Safety Officials.

The increasing frequency of major flooding in parts of the United States coupled with dam failures such as the breached Edenville and Sanford dams in Michigan should serve as a warning on the vulnerability of our infrastructure during extreme weather, according to Mark Anderson, an instructor at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“The nation’s water infrastructure is in need of engineering attention,” says Anderson, who previously served as the director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Dakota Water Science Center in Rapid City, and has spent his career working on water issues.

These challenges highlight the need for scientists and engineers trained at institutions like South Dakota Mines. Civil engineers can lead the way in innovative renovations to existing infrastructure and designs for new dams, bridges and roads that are more resilient to withstand a changing climate. Environmental engineers can help design new infrastructure that works in harmony with the natural world. Scientists like meteorologists and climatologists can lend to the understanding of what is coming and what society will need to do to prepare. 

The Un...

Last Edited 5/21/2020 09:27:37 AM [Comments (0)]