Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Dam Safety

Water Infrastructure Branch
Dam Safety and Floodplain Compliance Section

Staff with the Dam Safety Section and Floodplain Compliance Section periodically inspects all dams on the inventory as long as they continue to operate (approximately 300 dams each year). Each inspection starts with a complete file review in the office to note any identified deficiencies and to become familiar with hydrologic evaluations. The inspector then performs the field evaluation.

In the field, the inspector conducts a complete visual inspection. Surveys are completed for dams with missing measurements. Photographs help provide a permanent record of observations. Following the inspection, a letter and report are provided to the owner listing the observations and, if needed, deficiencies and remedial measures required. Enforcement action is sometimes required to ensure proper dam maintenance or modification.

The Dam Safety and Floodplain Compliance Section takes emergency action if a structure is in danger of failing and poses a threat to life or may cause serious property damage. The section is equipped with siphon pipes and pumps to help an owner drain water from a reservoir in an emergency. KRS 151.297 empowers the Energy and Environment Cabinet to take emergency action if an owner abandons a dam or refuses to take necessary action.

This same staff also processes between 100 and 200 floodplain cases each year (see Floodplain Compliance).