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Dam Safety

DEC is concerned with the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New York and the conservation and protection of its natural resources. Water stored behind a dam represents potential energy which can create a hazard to life and property located downstream of a dam. In order for a dam to safely fulfill its intended function, it must be constructed, operated and maintained properly.

Picture of a dam

The risks associated with the storage of water must be minimized at all times. The height of a dam, its maximum impoundment capacity, the physical characteristics of the dam site and the location of downstream facilities should be assessed to determine the appropriate hazard classification.

The functions of the Dam Safety Section include: safety inspection of dams; technical review of proposed dam construction or modification; monitoring of remedial work for compliance with dam safety criteria; and emergency preparedness.

If you are considering the construction, modification, or repair of a dam, please contact the Dam Safety Section. Helpful guidance for design engineers can be found in Guidelines for Design of Dams (PDF).

For those who live near or below a dam, please see Living with Dams: Know your Risks and Extreme Rainfall Events (leaves DEC's website) for additional information.

Annual Certification Form - Electronic/Online Submittal

The Dam Safety Annual Certification form can be completed online through the NYSDEC eBusiness Portal. Users must be registered with NY.gov in order to use this system.

User guides and help on registration are available on the portal information webpage that is accessed by clicking on the blue "DEC Online Forms Login" button.

High Hazard Dam Rehabilitation Grant FY21 (HHDR FY21)

Request for Applications (RFA) for the HHDR FY21 (PDF) is now available for download. Applications must be submitted through the New York State Grants Gateway. The HHDR FY21 Application deadline is February 10, 2023. $564,925 is available for the HHDR FY21. Funding is for pre-construction activities such as planning and design related to repair, removal, or rehabilitation of high hazard dams.

Technical and Operational Guidance Series (TOGS)

The Technical and Operational Guidance Series (TOGS) of memos is not a policies and procedures manual system, but rather, a vehicle to provide timely DEC water related information and detailed guidance to interested, regulated, or otherwise affected public. The TOGS memos are numbered and arranged by subject matter. For example, subjects related to Water Quantity are grouped under 3.0. The TOGS listed below are specific for Dams.

TOGS 3.1.3 - Emergency Action Plans for Dams (PDF)

TOGS 3.1.4 - Guidance for Dam Engineering Assessment Reports (PDF)

DRAFT TOGS 3.1.5 - Draft Guidance for Dam Hazard Classification (PDF)

Owners Guidance Manual for the Inspection and Maintenance of Dams in NYS

The Owners Guidance Manual for the Inspection and Maintenance of Dams in New York State (PDF) is available for download.

Effective August 19, 2009, DEC issued revisions to Part 673- Dam Safety Regulations, Part 608- Use and Protection of Waters, and Part 621- Uniform Procedures (links leave DEC's website.)

New York State Dams Inventory

The DEC has a Virtual Globe dataset that depicts the location of dams in the New York State Inventory of Dams. While the DEC tries to maintain an accurate inventory, this data should not be relied upon for emergency response decision-making. DEC recommends that critical data, including dam location and hazard classification, be verified in the field. The presence or absence of a dam in this inventory does not indicate its regulatory status. Any corrections to the inventory should be submitted to the Department's Dam Safety Section with supporting information.


More about Dam Safety:

  • Dam Safety Forms - These forms are intended to assist dam owners in compliance with several components of the newly adopted (August 19, 2009) Part 673 Dam Safety Regulations.
  • Information for Dam Owners - Six guidance documents for dam owners