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2 Silicon Valley Dams Found Highly Susceptible To Quakes

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Two Santa Clara County dams are vulnerable to earthquakes according to the preliminary findings of a new seismic study.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District study found that the ground under Calero Dam could liquefy in a major quake, and the embankment material at Guadalupe Dam is weaker than previously believed.

"If you get water over the top of the dam it would eventually erode away the dam and you'd get an uncontrolled release, a very large release of water," said "You'd get this big wave of water going through downtown San Jose, which is what we're going to prevent," said Frank Maitsky, deputy operating officer for the water district.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

Maitsky said that one prevention measure is to lower water storage levels on the two dams.

"We're protecting the public safety by making sure that the water level remains low so that even in the event that this could happen the water would remain behind the reservoir," said Maitsky.

The study also found Almaden Dam sturdier than originally thought. Maitsky said that a long-term fix will require a hike in water rates.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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