Dam sees much needed update to protect Nebraska town

Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 7:49 PM CDT
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There’s a Nebraska community with one less hazard to worry about tonight. A local agency comes to the rescue.

It is a dam on private property built to protect the public in the nearby village of Herman from quick runoff. Landowner Ann Loftis told us last fall it’s not designed as a reservoir.

“70-year-old dam, I wouldn’t want to gamble on when it’s going to not hold,” said Loftis.

The odds of it holding improved greatly this week.

After our Six on Your Side investigation exposed the dangers with this dam, the village of Herman sent a letter to the Papio NRD which stepped up to cleanout.

The outlet that barely emptied has suddenly turned into a gusher draining the water built up behind the dam.

John Winkler with Papio NRD said, “This drained all the water behind it and took the pressure off the dam. Now we don’t have to worry about it failing or topping. Now we can get in there and do our analysis. We can actually see what’s wrong and the deficiency of the dam.”

Though never the responsibility of the Papio Natural Resources District the NRD spent about $50,000 to save the dam.

“We’re extremely happy to get that thing unclogged that water drained and get it to this point in time, so I guess I could say the immediate threat is gone,” said Winkler.

There’s still expensive work ahead to make the dam stable and improve the drainage system. The NRD will ask the landowner, the village of Herman, and Washington County to pitch in with money.

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