PA IRRC Approves New Dam Safety Regulations

December 2010Newsletters In the Zone

In 2008, Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner released a performance audit of the Commonwealth’s dam safety regulations. Wagner’s audit had seven findings and made 29 recommendations. It called on the Division of Dam Safety to take immediate action to tighten up its oversight policies and procedures and inform the public. Specifically, Wagner said, the DEP should:

  • Require dam owners to prepare and submit timely emergency action plans.
  • Confirm the plans are distributed to appropriate county and local agencies.
  • Communicate dams’ potential danger to all special-needs facilities located in flood areas and verify the posting of public notices to ensure public awareness of dams’ potential danger.
  • Evaluate and monitor conditions of federal dams in Pennsylvania.
  • Ensure all high-hazard dams are inspected annually.

In response, the Department developed new Title 25 Chapter 105 regulations to address many of the concerns raised by the audit. Additionally, permit applications, design and inspection requirements for dam construction, modification and/or operation have been modified.

On November 18, 2010, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission approved the Department’s final-form regulations. The amendments will go into effect upon publication in the PA Bulletin as final rulemaking.

For more information, please contact Clair E. Wischusen at 215.918.3559 or [email protected].