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City's weekly dam reports fabricated

Greg Bruno and Jessica Gardner of The Times Herald-Record reviewed documents to show that inspection reports designed to prevent catastrophic failings at two New York City-owned dams in the Catskills were repeatedly fabricated, even as water officials publicly proclaimed the structures' safety. "Since September 2002, about 70 percent of the city's weekly inspections for the Neversink Dam in Sullivan County and the Merriman Dam on the Rondout Reservoir in Ulster County have been photocopies of previous reports. Not only are the inspector's observations unchanged from week to week — citing evidence like cracks, seepage and other structural woes — but the handwriting on each questionable form is identical. The photocopies suggest that observations made during weekly dam visits were put on forms before the inspections were conducted — if they were conducted at all." (Editor's note: The National Inventory of Dams, a database including dam location, condition, maintenance, and inspection reports, is available to journalists from IRE and NICAR. Other resources for covering dams are available on our Web site.)

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