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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.

For those who live near or below a dam please see the "living with dams" offsite link in the right column for additional information.

DRAFT TOGS 3.1.5 - Guidance for Dam Hazard Classification

Program Policy DOW 3.1.5 - Draft Guidance for Dam Hazard Classification (PDF) is now available for download.

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 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.

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