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HELENA — Further tests will be conducted on the Helena Valley Dam next week, although Bureau of Reclamation officials don't believe dam safety is an issue.

Sixty-eight exploratory holes were drilled at the site during an inspection in 2003. Although only one produced results officials "just weren't sure about," a further round of tests will be performed, said Steven Davis, a staff engineer for the agency.

"It indicated a potential of some lower density fill materials," he said. "It isn't something we're concerned about, but there are lingering questions. So we're coming back with different equipment to check it out."

The earthen dam holds back water in the Regulating Reservoir and was built in 1957-58.

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A drawdown during the tests three years ago caused controversy because of fish mortality. Reservoir levels won't need to be lowered for next week's sampling, reclamation officials said.

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