Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
BUILDING BIG The Dam Challenge.  Image with 5 links within the image
BUILDING BIG Home Page BUILDING BIG Site Map BUILDING BIG Labs BUILDING BIG Databank BUILDING BIG Glossary
Bridges
Domes
Skyscrapers
Dams
Tunnels
Buy the DVD
_  

Embankment dam

Embankment dam at a gold mine

Type: Embankment dam
Material: Sand and rock
Location: Gold mine
Age: 30 years
Purpose: To contain cyanide and other toxic waste produced at the mine
Problem: The dam walls are crumbling, and the waste is spilling over the top
Budget: $100 million

The Opinions:
"If that dam collapses, four million tons of poisonous sludge will gush down the mountainside and destroy our village completely. The gold mine isn't even productive anymore. Please remove the poisonous sludge and take that dangerous dam down for good. Our lives are at stake!"
-- Mayor of local village

"You can't take our dam down! Okay, so maybe the gold mine isn't as productive as it used to be. And maybe our dam wasn't built by a qualified engineer, but it won't collapse. I promise!"
-- President of gold-mining company

The Options:
Repair the Dam Remove the Dam Do nothing
Repair it! Remove it! Leave it alone!

  _
_