There are 814 public and private dams in Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Westchester counties – the swath of the state’s 18th Congressional District – and nearly half are considered “high hazard.”
The “high hazard” designation means that should a dam burst, it has the potential for serious devastation.
With dam safety in mind, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney toured the Lake Carmel Dam April 4 as part of introducing his bill, The Dam Safety Act of 2013.
According to Maloney, there are 403 high-hazard dams in the state and 100 of those are in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.
The legislation would revive the National Dam Safety Act of 1974, which ran out of funding in 2011.
Maloney said the need is critical, given the more than 5,000 dams statewide and 84,000 nationally. No funding figure was cited, but under the 1974 act, states received federal assistance for dam failure and dam stability analysis; emergency planning; staff to conduct inspections; dam owner education workshops; and other engineering analyses. Additionally, Washington had helped with antiterrorist planning.