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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: May 7, 2013 11:54 AM
From: Senator Michael L. Waugh
To: All Senate members
Subject: Amendments to Dam Safety and Encroachments Act
I am reintroducing legislation that amends Act 325 of 1978, known as the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, to clarify which dams can be required to provide proof of financial responsibility. This was Senate Bill 1612 of the 2011-12 session of the General Assembly.

Currently, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act provides that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may require proof of financial responsibility – in the form of a bond - from the owner of a dam that presents a “substantial potential risk to life or property,” which the department’s regulations define as a “Category I Dam.” However, the department has taken the approach that it can also require proof of financial responsibility from “Category II Dams,” which, under the department’s regulations, pose only an appreciable risk. This is beyond the authority of the statute and has burdened the owners of relatively safe dams (including large farm ponds).

This bill will effectively incorporate the department’s regulations into the statute and clarify that proof of financial responsibility can only be required of those dams as provided under current law. Finally, the bill provides that notwithstanding the absence of a bond requirement, the Commonwealth may seek reimbursement from any dam owner if the owner fails to properly construct, maintain, operate or remove any dam subject to the act.

If you have questions regarding this legislation, please contact Greg Beckenbaugh in my office at 787-3817 or at gbeckenbaugh@pasen.gov .

Introduced as SB988