The tests will follow an evaluation report on the dam’s stability and reliability issued in July 2002 by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which has authority over the dam and Tuttle Creek Lake.

The location of the dam — on the Big Blue river 8km north of Manhattan, Kansas, US – makes it vulnerable to seismic activity from the Humboldt fault zone near Wamego, Kansas.

Under USACE regulations, dams must be able to survive and remain safe during and following maximum credible earthquake events.

With the bill for reinforcement work estimated to come to US$206M, Bill Empson, project manager of the Tuttle Creek Dam Safety Assurance Programme, told AP that they hoped to increase efficiency in a bid to cut costs.

He added that two new techniques would be used to drill the holes where the reinforcement material was to be placed, according to AP.