*Denver Post* - *No Danger From Dams - Probably* --greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
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No Danger From Dams - Probably
By Julia C. Martinez - Denver Post Capitol Bureau
Dec. 8 - Dams all over Colorado will not be vulnerable to year-end computer problems, a Department of Natural Resources official insisted Tuesday, despite concerns from the governor's Y2K office that it "has no documentation that supports this opinion.''
The department has failed to provide written evidence that proves its dams, fish hatcheries and other facilities with hidden computer chips won't break down at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, said Brian Mouty, Statewide Year 2000 project manager. He is charged with overseeing Y2K compliance at state agencies.
Instead, DNR's executive director Greg Walcher sent a signed letter to the governor's Y2K office saying DNR would "assume any added risk that may be introduced as a result of not providing any documentation.''
Bill Daley, DNR's deputy director for administration, said Tuesday that engineers have inspected the 30 or so state-owned dams and found none with embedded systems - those with hidden computer chips - that "open gates, control water levels or release water from dams'' or that would "cause any safety issue to citizens of the state of Colorado.''
Nevertheless, dam safety engineers noted in their report that "channels downstream from the dams are large enough to handle maximum flows'' in case a gate were to open or a spillway were to overflow, Daley said.
Besides the dams, 32 fish hatcheries, whose water supplies rely on embedded chips, have been checked, he said.
Some chips have been replaced and backup power supplies have been readied. Water for the hatcheries is pumped from rivers or wells using electronic devices that contain the embedded chips.
"If hatcheries didn't have water we could lose hundreds of fish,'' Daley said. "We're comfortable they're ready.''
But the governor's Y2K office said the assurances are in word only, with no written evidence of support.
Mouty declined to comment on whether he thought safety was an issue.
A report from Mouty's office to the Joint Budget Committee showed that DNR ranks last of all state agencies in proving that it has checked its embedded systems and found them compliant or replaced them.
A committee staff member said Tuesday that because DNR is a "tier one'' agency, meaning it has widespread use of embedded systems, "the consequences of Year 2000 failures could be more widespread.''
"They may be fine. I might be all wet on this,'' Mouty said. "They went through their buildings and said "we went through and everything was OK.' But they have no documentation to prove it.''
Mouty said that all departments were required to do a comprehensive inventory check and contact vendors and manufacturers if they didn't have documents detailing how everything worked and where embedded chips might be located. He said there's little his office can do at this late date.
-- snooze button (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 08, 1999
There's a guy who CLEARLY doesn't understand the meaning of liability. OR, as agovernmental employee, he figures he's imune from lawsuit. wonder if his PERSONAL lawyer gave him any advice......
"Why will a lawyer survive a boat capsize in shark infested waters?? Professional courtesy."
-- Chuck, a night driver (email@example.com), December 08, 1999.