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US dam safety A BILL TO IMPROVE the safety of Delaware dams has been stalled in a Delaware Senate committee for more than a year. The bill would have established safety standards and required reg-ular inspection of most dams in the state. Delaware is one of only two states in the US that do not regulate dams, according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. The other state is Alabama.

Meanwhile, according to New Jersey’s dam safety section, only nine of the dams owned by the state Depart-ment of Environmental Protec-tion (DEP) have emergency action plans, and just seven of the DEP’s 104 dams have operation and maintenance manuals, as required by dam safety rules adopted in 1985.

Since 1985 DEP has focused on upgrading its high hazard dams, which could cause loss of life or extensive property damage if they fail. DEP is hiring consultants to study its 13 significant-hazard dams in need of repairs. A total of US$4.45M in last year’s state budget was allocated to upgrade DEP’s high hazard dams as well as study and repair significant hazard dams. (See related articles)