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Two Potomac River dams to be inspected this week

November 30, 1999

The National Park Service will conduct required dam inspections for Potomac River Dams No. 4 and No. 5 on Wednesday, according to a park service press release.

Water will be lowered behind the dams to permit the inspections by National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel. Water levels will be noticeably lower for 24 to 48 hours, according to the release.

Periodic inspections are required by the National Park Service to ensure the proper maintenance of the dams, and the safety of people and property downstream. The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency that manages dams throughout the United States, conducts inspections for the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Dams No. 4 and No. 5 were constructed to provide water for the operation of the C&O Canal. The current Dam No. 4 was built between 1906 and 1909. Dam No. 5 was built in the mid-1800s, according to the park service. Both dams were modified to provide hydroelectric power in the early 1900s and are still used for that purpose.

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The slackwater behind both dams is popular for recreational uses.

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