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Xcel Energy keeping eye on Ladysmith hydro dam

LADYSMITH, Wis. (AP) — Xcel Energy is keeping a round-the-clock watch on the Big Falls hydroelectric dam near Ladysmith after a small sinkhole developed in an earthen embankment.

The utility implemented a watch condition for potential dam failure Tuesday as rain fell in western Wisconsin.

Xcel spokeswoman Liz Wolf Green said the sinkhole was discovered in an embankment to the east of the powerhouse.

As a precaution, Xcel is lowering the reservoir 6 inches an hour for 24 hours, to bring the water level down by 12 feet and relieve pressure.

There are no evacuations.

The dam is located on the Flambeau River about seven miles north and east of Ladysmith.

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