Rhode Island Dam Would Likely Withstand Quake

October 6, 2014

An engineering expert says the dam that supplies drinking water to roughly 60 percent of the state’s population could likely withstand an earthquake.

University of Rhode Island Assistant Professor Aaron Bradshaw says he worried the soil underneath Rhode Island’s largest dam, the Gainer Memorial Dam at the Scituate Reservoir, was loose and potentially unstable.

He performed the first seismic tests on the 88-year-old dam, using ground sensors to monitor vibrations traveling through the earth when the ground was struck.

Bradshaw says there were some pockets of loose soil, but overall it was quite dense.

The Providence Water Supply Board operates the dam. Senior Engineering Manager Peter LePage says he’s glad the test was done, and he believes the dam will be structurally sound and safe for years to come.

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