Improving the Safety of Our Nation's Dams--Progress and Issues

CED-79-30: Published: Mar 8, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1979.

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The Corps of Engineers inspected about 1,800 non-federal dams during 1978 in an effort to discover potentially hazardous conditions that threaten dam safety. Many deficiencies were noted, and remedial measures were recommended to dam owners and states. There is a need to improve the nation's federal dams, and guidelines are being developed to help coordinate the dam safety efforts of federal agencies.

The key safety issues to be resolved concern non-federal dams. The cooperation of dam owners and willingness of the states to continue efforts begun by the Corps non-federal dam inspection program are needed; however, many dam owners lack the financial resources, willingness, or understanding to take recommended remedial measures and the states do not have legislative authority, funds, or trained personnel to conduct their own programs. The study of five selected states showed that, although some states have improved their programs, many of the improvements, such as hiring additional personnel and providing training, are dependent upon financing by the Corps of Engineers and may not continue when the financial assistance program ends in 1981.

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