The Rapidan Dam in Minnesota, US, is facing a critical situation following recent flooding of the Blue Earth River. Officials issued a warning on Monday, stating that the dam is in “imminent failure condition.”

The Blue Earth County Emergency Management team became aware of accumulating debris at the Rapidan Dam on Sunday, June 23, 2024. In response, staff from Blue Earth County Public Works, Emergency Management, and the Sheriff’s Office are actively monitoring the dam.

The west side of the dam has experienced significant erosion due to the river’s current. Efforts are underway to manage the situation in collaboration with Xcel Energy. County Road 33 and County Road 90 bridges are under close surveillance for debris and may be closed if conditions worsen.

Officials have alerted downstream residents, regulatory agencies, and other local entities to the situation. Steps outlined in the Rapidan Dam Emergency Action Plan for Imminent Failure are being implemented, including notifying potentially affected residents and impacted agencies. Despite the warning, the dam remains intact, and no evacuation order is currently in place for Blue Earth County residents.

The situation remains fluid, with continuous monitoring by Blue Earth County Public Works, Emergency Management, and the Sheriff’s Office. A partial failure has occurred on the west abutment, causing a diversion of river flow around the dam.

The Rapidan Dam, built over a century ago and managed by Blue Earth County for the past 46 years, has historically faced regular flooding, with the second-highest flood on record occurring in 2019. These flood events and the dam’s age have led to significant structural damage. In 2021, a study proposed two solutions: repair or remove the dam. Both options come with substantial costs and various implications. The Future of Rapidan Dam project aims to gather community input to guide the County in making the best decision for the dam’s future.