- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

JOHNSTON, R.I. (AP) - Officials in Rhode Island are working together to try to keep the state’s deteriorating dams in better shape.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit, engineers and dam safety officials gathered Friday at a dam in Johnston to discuss the need to repair “high hazard” dams.

Dams are considered high hazard if their failure would likely cause loss of human life and endanger population centers and ecosystems.

Rhode Island has about 660 dams. Many are more than a century old and 96 are classified as high hazard.

Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, authored a measure to authorize $445 million in federal grants to repair dams nationwide. If it becomes law, Rhode Island would be eligible for up to $700,000 annually.

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