The Pennsylvania 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 in place.
The total of 57 owners of the dams in question failed to create or update their plans, despite DEP requests, the department said. The notices were issued last week.
“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 local officials.
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.
The dams are spread among 22 counties: Allegheny, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Columbia, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Indiana, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland and Wyoming.
On The Net:
Department of Environmental Protection:
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.