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Old 06-08-2021, 08:40 AM   #1
switchbackxt
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Default Broken dam!!

Lost my lake and my fish on Memorial Day. Apparently the Grapeland area had 11 plus inches over night. There were several others that lost their dams that night as well. The good news is nobody was hurt and it can be repaired. The bad news is I have to start over on growing my fish.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:45 AM   #2
Sackett
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Damm, sorry to hear that. A lot of hard work and money went into that, I'm sure
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:47 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear that. Hope you get up & running soon.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:47 AM   #4
Dale Moser
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That really sucks.

Need to get some vegetation on it asap.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:48 AM   #5
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That’s a shame! The previous owner of our place built a beautiful 3/4 acre pond with a dam / levee but he didn’t install an overflow… with all of this rain I have lost so many feesh that it would make a grown salty old man cry! You’ll have great memories rebuilding your pond and your feesh herd. When the next drought hits, I’m installing an overflow :-)
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switchbackxt View Post
Lost my lake and my fish on Memorial Day. Apparently the Grapeland area had 11 plus inches over night. There were several others that lost their dams that night as well. The good news is nobody was hurt and it can be repaired. The bad news is I have to start over on growing my fish.
No spillway, or just not in the pics ?
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Drycreek3189 View Post
No spillway, or just not in the pics ?
It is left of the island in the first pic.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:53 AM   #8
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That really sucks.

Need to get some vegetation on it asap.
We had a hydro seeding company that was going to spray after the rain. Whoops!!
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:54 AM   #9
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What a great opportunity to build in some new structure, and make it twice what it was
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:54 AM   #10
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That sucks. During the Great Rains of 2015 in NTX, i had to build a few back up myself.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Sackett View Post
Damm, sorry to hear that. A lot of hard work and money went into that, I'm sure
Thank you. You are correct. Itís not really the work or the money that upset me. It was the loss of the fish that I have been feeding and growing for the last year.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:00 AM   #12
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Hate to see something like that. Our pond went from concerningly low, to almost hitting the overflow in just the last month.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MadHatter View Post
What a great opportunity to build in some new structure, and make it twice what it was
We have looked at it as an opportunity to clean some of the brush out that we left in the first time. There is plenty of natural structure ( flooded timber ). Lake/ pond is about 4 acres in size and half of that is/was flooded timber.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:03 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by switchbackxt View Post
It is left of the island in the first pic.
The emergency spillway is typically at either end of the dam. Is the cut in the dam where the pipe outlet was or was there no pipe? Was this a do it yourself pond or did you hire a contractor? Any contractor worth a darn would have surveyed it and constructed it with controls in place to mitigate wash outs
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by .243 WSSM View Post
The emergency spillway is typically at either end of the dam. Is the cut in the dam where the pipe outlet was or was there no pipe? Was this a do it yourself pond or did you hire a contractor? Any contractor worth a darn would have surveyed it and constructed it with controls in place to mitigate wash outs
The spillway was/is at the end of the dam and there was an emergency spillway at the other end as well. I do not believe the failure was the fault of the contractor. There were a couple of ponds in the same area that were decades old and they lost their dams as well. One of those being salmon lake Park built in the 60ís. 11 inches of rain in a few hours is going to cause flooding and I didnít have the funds to build a Hoover type dam. Things happen and we just have to regroup and rebuild.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:27 AM   #16
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A spillway should always be built in natural ground with a berm that keeps the runoff from washing any part of the dam out from below. Having said that, sandy land can be a real challenge because natural ground washes as much as man-made fill does. Not everyone can afford to pour concrete in a spillway. I would be one of them, I’m lucky mine is in clay. Hate that you lost your fish. I lost mine in 2011 because of the drought and the limited runoff that goes into my pond.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:35 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by switchbackxt View Post
We had a hydro seeding company that was going to spray after the rain. Whoops!!
Spend the money and do it right. Concrete spillway. Have engineer run calcs on water flow so you build it big enough. Should some issue of washout.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:41 AM   #18
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Sorry to lose your fish. We are trying to grow some now too
I might look at a pipe overflow and concrete emergency spillway.
My hindsight is close to 20/20.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:51 AM   #19
.243 WSSM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switchbackxt View Post
The spillway was/is at the end of the dam and there was an emergency spillway at the other end as well. I do not believe the failure was the fault of the contractor. There were a couple of ponds in the same area that were decades old and they lost their dams as well. One of those being salmon lake Park built in the 60ís. 11 inches of rain in a few hours is going to cause flooding and I didnít have the funds to build a Hoover type dam. Things happen and we just have to regroup and rebuild.
That really sux about your fish. You have a good attitude to start over and try again. Good luck with the redo and I hope it never happens again. 11" at once is a ton of water.
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:27 AM   #20
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Sorry to hear about your dam and your lost fish! Those pictures are bad deja vu for me as we lost our lake in Grapeland (twice) due to big rains like that. I heard from one of my neighbors that nearly everyone that had a tank, pond or lake lost part or all of their dams after that rain.

As a suggestion for the new build, reach out to the NRCS/Soil Conservation folks in Crockett and get them to do a watershed study to see how much watershed is actually feeding into your pond so you can size the overflow properly. After we lost the second dam, I had them out and eventually had to make the hard decision to not rebuild. We purchased the property with the dam already built, but even when we replaced the existing drains with a full railcar for a drain it overtopped the dam and blew it out.
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:44 AM   #21
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I know concrete is obviously not cost effective. I would suggest a pond liner type material and just run it length ways over the spill way. Over into pond a ways then down the back of the spill way. Then cover it with dirt and a few loads of cheap rock. Poor mans spill way but it works. It will keep it from washing out again. If it ever get down to the liner atleast that will stop it.

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Old 06-08-2021, 10:54 AM   #22
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Just giving our experience from May 2016 and last month in Austin County. We have a 10' wide by 3' deep overflow spillway built into the dam at the farm, dam is approximately 100 yards long. We are maybe 900-100 yards from the peak of the hill, so we aren't getting crazy amounts of runoff coming down the hill to us. In both 2016 and last month, we had water flowing straight across the dam and across the pasture at the peak of the dam roughly 20 yards up the hill towards the house, maybe 12"-14" in elevation. It doesn't seem possible unless you are sitting in the truck watching it, I've even had folks tell me that I was exaggerating when I posted about the water level and what was going on. When you have that much water drop in that short of a time period, Mother Nature will surprise you

That being said, if you can afford it, a concrete spillway cut into the dam is a good idea. We had to seriously shore up the backside of the dam where it flows into the creek after the 2016 flood, it had undercut the spillway quite a bit. Spent more than we desired, but drove metal pilings down and poured the concrete to it held up beautifully this go round, and its seen some water over the last few years. None quite like last months deluge, but other than a few small areas down close to the creek where the trees were causing the water to swirl, we didn't have any damage to speak of. And the dam has been there for at least 28 years, not sure how long it had been there before my in-law's purchased the place. So the grass definitely helps keep the erosion at bay, I'd hate to think of what would have happened had this been a new dam, I'm sure we would have had a breach somewhere and lost more than we did...somewhere down stream there are more than a few Florida/Texas strain hybrids that look like footballs swimming around I hope they survived and made their way into the Brazos River system
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Old 06-08-2021, 11:29 AM   #23
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Wow....sorry about losing your lake and fish. I know the effort that goes into it. Good luck on repair and re-stocking.
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Old 06-08-2021, 03:24 PM   #24
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The Farm and Ranch store here in Grapeland was keeping a list of all the reported lakes that were busted. Last I heard, the count was up in the mid 30's, just in the immediate Grapeland area.
The amount of rain that fell was unreal. We did record right at 12" in about 8 hours, but most of it came within a 4 to 5 hour time frame. A lot of roads were lost too. Was a real mess for a few days.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switchbackxt View Post
We have looked at it as an opportunity to clean some of the brush out that we left in the first time. There is plenty of natural structure ( flooded timber ). Lake/ pond is about 4 acres in size and half of that is/was flooded timber.
What a shame, sorry you lost that nice lake and the fish population you were working on. Good luck rebuilding.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:29 PM   #26
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Dam shame.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:37 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by switchbackxt View Post
The spillway was/is at the end of the dam and there was an emergency spillway at the other end as well. I do not believe the failure was the fault of the contractor. There were a couple of ponds in the same area that were decades old and they lost their dams as well. One of those being salmon lake Park built in the 60ís. 11 inches of rain in a few hours is going to cause flooding and I didnít have the funds to build a Hoover type dam. Things happen and we just have to regroup and rebuild.
Yep. We have family land in Grapeland and they had a ton of rain in a very very short amount of time. I saw pictures of Salmon Lake and it is gone. It has been there a very long time, was built correctly, and has weathered many floods until that rain. Sorry to see you lost yours OP... you weren't alone in that area.
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:00 PM   #28
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Well, their should be some great fishing in all the creeks around Grapeland.
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:08 PM   #29
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Same thing happened to us in 2016, emergency spillway couldnít keep up and lost a 13 acre lake that was full of fish we built in the 90ís
Itís rebuilt now and has handled the crazy rainfall good so far.








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Old 06-08-2021, 06:50 PM   #30
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When you get the new dam built take a ditch witch and cut a trench from one end to the other and fill the trench with sakrete.
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:52 PM   #31
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Your "good news" is good news.
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Old 06-08-2021, 07:12 PM   #32
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Build the dam higher and lower the spill away a foot or 2
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Old 06-08-2021, 07:16 PM   #33
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One of the keys to the spill way is to make sure it is clear and clean. Speaking of which I need to do some clearing mine.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:46 PM   #34
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One of the keys to the spill way is to make sure it is clear and clean. Speaking of which I need to do some clearing mine.


Thatís what got ours. Logs and stuff jammed it and it breached in the center


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Old 06-09-2021, 07:49 AM   #35
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Sorry to hear that. Lots of hours go into maintaining ponds and dams
Good luck on the rebuild
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:02 AM   #36
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Thatís what got ours. Logs and stuff jammed it and it breached in the center


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Your last photo of water running through the cut dam is incredible and painful all in one photo.


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Old 06-09-2021, 09:49 AM   #37
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We had equipment sitting beside a 16 acre lake waiting for it to dry up enough to fix their spillway problem he had been putting off for years. The dam failed on Saturday and he lost the entire lake and all the fish he had spent 16 years growing and adding to his overall expense tens of thousands of dollars to get it back where it was. The poor guy was in tears and I offered to do some extra work for free on the inflow side removing silt trying to help him out. He’s come to terms with it today and we’re going to add a lot of structure in it making it an even better fishing lake for his family so the best thing I can say in your situation is to turn a negative into a positive by taking the time to do it right this time and making it better than it was.

We’ve repaired and built hundreds of lakes over the years and the number one problem is the dam height compared to the spillway construction and the over site of lake builders not knowing or at least having the understanding of a worst case scenario of in flow.

I’m sure you have a grasp on it now but if you have any questions I’d be happy to offer any advice on it so feel free to pm me with any questions. Repairing a dam is as much art as it is anything else so if they just start packing it with clay your going to be in trouble again, their is a process to it so find someone that’s dealt with it a lot.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:00 AM   #38
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Would planting trees along the dam help hold the dirt in place in these situations?
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:22 AM   #39
Kong
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Would planting trees along the dam help hold the dirt in place in these situations?
Worst thing you can do to a dam is let trees grow on it, they need to be clean and well maintained
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:27 AM   #40
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Worst thing you can do to a dam is let trees grow on it, they need to be clean and well maintained
So the root systems wouldn't add any strength to the dam to hold it in place. I could see the spillway being clear and all but wouldn't tree roots help with erosion?
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:34 AM   #41
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Root systems create cavities for the water to flow around weakening the dam. On smaller ponds it’s not a huge problem but on larger lakes above 4 acres it’s a nightmare scenario. Some survive decades like this but eventually they will fail from trees and roots rotting destroying the dam if they receive very much in flow. Water is always looking for a way to escape and it will always take the path of least resistance.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:52 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switchbackxt View Post
The spillway was/is at the end of the dam and there was an emergency spillway at the other end as well. I do not believe the failure was the fault of the contractor. There were a couple of ponds in the same area that were decades old and they lost their dams as well. One of those being salmon lake Park built in the 60ís. 11 inches of rain in a few hours is going to cause flooding and I didnít have the funds to build a Hoover type dam. Things happen and we just have to regroup and rebuild.
I heard about Salmon. Spent a lot of time up there as a kid.
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:23 AM   #43
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Back together. Waiting for it to fill and then restock the fish.
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:29 AM   #44
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You did a dam fine job.
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:37 AM   #45
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You did a dam fine job.
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:27 AM   #46
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Looks nice. Did you put in a spillway?


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Old 06-20-2021, 10:55 AM   #47
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When I built mine I put in a 15 inch steel pipe in the bottom of the lake and ran the other end into a creek with a valve to control the depth of mine. I usually keep it about 2 ft from the top of levy. Lake is about 12ft deep. I put in 3400 hybrid catfish in last year with lots of minnows and perch. I’ve got an electric well that pumps about 1500gpm into lake.
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Old 06-20-2021, 03:49 PM   #48
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Looks nice. Did you put in a spillway?


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It already had a spillway and an emergency spillway, one on each end of the dam. They did make the spillway twice as wide this time around.
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:52 PM   #49
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Back together. Waiting for it to fill and then restock the fish.
Good luck with it, hope it fills up and you get those fish stocked back.
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:55 PM   #50
.243 WSSM
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It already had a spillway and an emergency spillway, one on each end of the dam. They did make the spillway twice as wide this time around.
Did they make those at a lowered elevation compared to before or same height as before? Widening will definitely help but they should have been lowered a bit so they start emptying sooner instead of the crest lapping at the dam top for so long
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