The mission of the Dam Safety Section is to protect lives and property from the danger of a dam failure. Public safety is accomplished by ensuring that dams are constructed, rehabilitated, maintained, operated, or removed in a safe manner.
Dam Safety Services
Construction, modification, or removal of a dam under state jurisdiction requires a Certificate of Approval. Upon receipt of an application, Dam Safety reviews the design of the engineering proposal. Safety standards set by the Dam Safety Rule must be met before the Division of Water and Waste Management issues certificates. Annual renewal of Certificates helps to ensure that dams are maintained in a safe condition.
In addition to safety reviews and maintenance inspections of existing dams, our inspection team also observes dams under construction to ensure standards set by the Dam Safety Rule are adhered to. Upon completion of an inspection, a report is provided to the dam owner with observations from the site visit and recommendations for maintaining compliance. Please note that inspections performed by Dam Safety do not replace the owner's periodic inspection requirements necessary to extend the Certificate of Approval for the dam.
Dam Safety responds to emergency calls. Engineers work closely with state and county emergency authorities to identify dam safety problems and to notify downstream residents in the event of imminent danger.
Monitoring and Emergency Action Plans
Dam owners are liable for loss of life and property should a dam failure occur. As a result, Monitoring & Emergency Action Plan (MEAP) review and approval is an important aspect of the Dam Safety program. Owners of High Hazard (and some Significant Hazard) Potential Dams are required to develop a MEAP. Please note that hazard potential is not related to the structural integrity of a dam, but strictly to the potential for downstream flooding.
Inventory of Dams
The Dam Safety Section maintains an inventory of non-coal related dams in West Virginia and contributes information to the National Inventory of Dams (NID).