CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Government figures show that West Virginia has hundreds of potentially hazardous earthen dams.
But a Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman says problems like the one that prompted an evacuation Sunday night in Lincoln County are rare. Jessica Greathouse says the D-E-P inspects dams regularly.
Most earthen dams are privately owned and made of dirt, like the one at Lee's Fishing Lake just upstream from Hamlin.
The Association of State Dam Safety Officials says 244 West Virginia dams have a high hazard potential -- and 33 of them need repairs.
In the case of the Lee's Fishing Lake dam, there seemed to be little reason for worry. Greathouse says the original owner drained the lake, so the D-E-P thought it no longer held water.
Now the D-E-P is trying to determine how to breach the dam. Meanwhile, officials allowed residents to return home Monday.