TEMPE, Ariz., July 22 (UPI) -- The mayor of Tempe, Ariz., said maintenance crews had been scheduled to start replacing an inflatable rubber dam this week the day after it collapsed.
The failure of the structure Tuesday night nearly emptied Tempe Town Lake, wiping out most of the fish in the reservoir, which had been 16 feet deep in some places.
Mayor Hugh Hallman told the Arizona Republic that work had been scheduled to start Wednesday on replacing the dam. He added the maintenance crew could have been killed if the collapse had occurred while the work was under way.
Hallman said the city hoped to have the dam replaced and the lake back to normal in about three months.
The Republic said Thursday that the city was informed last month by Bridgestone that the inflatable structure probably would not last much longer due to the harsh heat and dryness of southern Arizona.
A design flaw made it impossible to use sprinklers to keep the rubber cool and wet, which likely hastened its deterioration.