U.S. Water News Online
HARRISBURG, Pa.-- The Department of Environmental
Protection has issued notices of violation to the owners of 46
high-hazard dams that are operating without emergency action plans.
Dams classified as high-hazard -- meaning their failure could
threaten homes and businesses -- are required to have emergency plans
The total of 57 owners of the dams in question failed to create or
update their plans, despite DEP requests, the department said.
"During statewide flooding in June, several emergency action plans
had to be activated," Gov. Ed Rendell said. "That gave emergency
responders on the scene a firsthand look at how valuable a
well-designed plan can be in helping to ensure the orderly and timely
evacuation of communities downstream from at-risk structures."
Emergency action plans can include recommended road closings,
around-the-clock monitoring and complete evacuation of certain
endangered areas. The plans must be updated every five years with
input from DEP, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and
Those who fail to comply face civil penalties of up to $10,000
plus $500 for each day of continued violations. Enforcement actions
also could lead to the draining and breaching of the dams at the
owners' expense, officials said.
"Our goal is to move decisively to shore up this critical
infrastructure and ensure the mechanisms are in place to protect the
health and safety of residents and the assets of downstream
communities," said DEP Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty.
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