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THE KANSAS LIFELINE

July 2018

groundwater table that could adversely

impact the district's four public water

supply wells located approximately 1.5

miles upstream from the dam. Four

alternatives were proposed by the

engineers, from constructing a new

cofferdam immediately upstream, to

constructing a new cofferdam

immediately downstream, to removing

the existing dam and building a new

concrete gravity dam in its place. The

fourth proposal was to repair the

existing dam with more durable

materials. Repair and rehabilitation of

the existing structure was deemed to

be the most practical but still came

with a cost-prohibitive minimum price

tag of $4.36 million. Ultimately, the

district elected to drill additional wells

elsewhere to mitigate any deterioration

in the aquifer should the dam fail. The

district received cost share funding

through the Conservation Commission

to develop those new well sites to

offset any potential loss in production.

Having grown up near Marysville, I

often visited the low-head dam over

the years, especially during high flow

events, and wondered how much

longer it could survive and what type

of event would ultimately bring about

its demise. During my recent visits

after the dam failed, I visit with local

residents who lament the loss of the

dam. It was somewhat of a local

attraction and the local residents have

nostalgic memories of fishing and

swimming at the dam. Although

nothing was damaged by the dam

failure and no critical infrastructure

was lost, as stated in the Marysville

Advocate, the dam remained a special

spot in Marysville’s collective

memory.

Remains of the Hutchinson Flour Mill as it appeared

on January 26, 2013. The mill still stands adjacent to

the powerhouse on the west end of the dam.

This USGS Hydrograph from May 4, 2018, shows the likely timing of dam

failure, with a sharp spike in surface water flows at the downstream gage

at approximately 5:00 a.m. after the river had already crested.

Ken Kopp, P.G., Water

Rights/Source Water

Specialist, joined KRWA

as Water Rights/Source

Water Specialist in early

2016. He previous worked

for twenty-three years at

the Kansas Dept. of

Agriculture, Division of Water Resources and

most recently was New Application Unit

Supervisor.