Safe Swimming: Army Corps address dangers of low head dams

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BINGHAMTON, NY – With summer right around the corner, it’s important to learn the dangers of low-head dams.

April is low-head dam public safety awareness month.

There are more than dozens of them in this region alone, all different sizes, yet equally as dangerous.

These dams are known as a tumbling machine, because once caught up in it, you’ll be stuck.

Even wearing a life jacket will not prevent you from sinking or drowning.

The Levee Safety Programs Manager with the Army Corps Engineers, Alex Baldowski says even though it may not seem like it, water is very dangerous.

“Low-head dams do look very inviting. They give you this false sense of security that you can walk up to this tranquil looking water, and you can just hop right in, but the really scary part is right when you get up close to it and it just takes you over,” says Baldowski.

The Army Corps is taking a number of steps to address dam dangers.

They include installing check dams to slow the water down, as well as adding fencing and signs around dams to warn the public.

Baldowski says the best way to stay safe is to avoid the dams altogether.

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