The Delaware Dam Safety Law was adopted in 2004 and provides the framework for proper design, construction, operation, maintenance, and inspection of dams in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare. The law requires licensing, inspections and preparation of emergency action plans (EAPs) for publicly owned dams with a high or significant hazard potential. A dam’s hazard potential classification depends upon the threat to downstream communities and infrastructure in the event of a dam failure and is not related to the condition of a dam.
The Delaware Dam Safety Program was developed to reduce the risk of failure of dams and to prevent injuries to persons, damage to downstream property and loss of reservoir storage. The Dam Safety Regulations, adopted on December 11, 2009, establish requirements for licensing existing dams; permitting construction of new dams and repairs to existing dams; conducting inspections; performing maintenance; and preparing EAPs. In 2007, DNREC was awarded state funding to develop Emergency Action Plans for Delaware’s highest priority, state-owned, high-hazard dams.