Dam safety in question, IJC says

Abitibi-Consolidated’s and Boise Cascade’s dams along the Rainy Lake-Namakan watershed are among those the International Joint Commission is warning may not be safe because they don’t have regular government inspections.
And now it’s recommending more rigorous government standards be set, including regular on-site inspections by independent, qualified experts.
But local mill manager Jim Gartshore assured Abitibi had a detailed plan for inspecting its dams, with an outside consultant–Acres Consulting of Winnipeg–making inspections every five years.
He also stressed they took recommendations from the consultant’s reports very seriously, estimating the mill had spent more than $10 million on its dams in the past 10 years.
“I’m completely confident they’re sound structures. I think our company does a good job of maintaining our dams,” Gartshore said yesterday, noting the dams are essential to the operation of the mill. “It’s in our best interest to make sure they’re in shape.
“We’d welcome any government inspection,” he added, but also didn’t feel the mill should be responsible for paying for it.
Bob Anderson, with Boise Cascade in International Falls, noted the two mills teamed up to have the Kettle Falls dam inspected last year. While some minor items needed attention, he noted that work was slated for the summer of 1999.
But because he hadn’t read the report, Anderson couldn’t comment any further as to its recommendations.
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