oversight

The Implementation of the National Dam Inspection Act of 1972

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-03-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                         DOCUMENT RBSULIE
00522 - [ A1051713
The Implementation of the National Dar Inspection Act of 1972.
 1arch 15, 1977. 13 pp.
Testimony before the House Committee on Government Operations:
Conservation, Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee; by
Henry Eschwege, Director, Community and Xconomic Development
Div.
Issue Area: Water and Water Related Programs (2500).
Contact: Community and Sconomic Development Div.
Budget Function: Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy:
    Water Resources and Power (3011j.
Organization Concerned: Department of the Army: Corps of
    Engineers.
congressional Relevance: House Committee on Government
    Operations: Conservation, Energy and Natural Resources
    Subcoamittee.
Authority: National Dan Inspection act of 1972 (..L. 92-367).
         To date, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has made
no actual inspections of dams pursuant to the rational Dam
Inspection Act of 1972. After the rejection, in December 1972,
by the Office of Management and Budget of a dam inspection
budget proposal, no appropriation was made under the Act except
for collecting inventory on dams. Inventory data were collected
that concentrated on location, size, and type of dams. There
were inaccuracies and inconsistencies: some dams were listed
more than once; some had incorrect descriptive information; and
some dams which should have bg:-listed in the inventcry were
not. The Corps' recommendations for a national dam safety plan
would require the States to voluntarily make important and
expensive improvements tc their programs. Scume proposal for
financial or other incentives would be necessary. The estimated
cost of the Corps program would be about seven times the amount
currently spent for dam safaty' across the ccuntry. Sizeable
costs would also be involved in remedial actions and assistance
after dam failures. Alternatives for carrying out a dam safety
program include: establishing a national dam safety insurance
program; formulating uniform minimum inspection guidelines;
encouraging Federal and State cooperation; making a safety
program prerequisite to Federal funding; selecting a private
agency to perform inspections; adopting zoning laws to prevent
building downstream from dams; and devising warning ;,ystems for
existing communities. (QM)
rcj                UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548

                                                  FOR RELEASE ON DELIVERY
                                                  EXPECTED TUESDAY MORNING
                                                  MARCH 15, 1977

                                  STATEMENT OF
                            HENRY ESCHWEGE, DIRECTOR
                   COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
                     UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
                                   BEFORE THE
          SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONSERVATION, ENERGY, AND NATURAL RESOURCES
                                     OF THE
                !\>A   COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
                                       ON
                     THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL DAM
                             INSPECTION ACT OF 1972

  MR. CHAIPMAN AND MEMBERS OF THF SUBCOMMITTEE:

          WE ARE HERE TODAY AT YOUR REQUEST TO DISCUSS THE PROGRESS BEING

  MADE IN IMPLEMENTING THE NATIONAL DAM INSPECTION ACT OF 1972 (P.L.92-

  367).     I WILL COMMENT FIRST ON THE BACKGROUND OF THE ACT, AND THEN

  DISCUSS OUR OBSERVATIONS TO DATE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACT

  BY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY.     I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT, HOWEVER,

  THAT OUR WORK IS NOT YET COMPLETED AND THE RESPONSIBLE AGENCIES HAVE

  NOT BEEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO FORMALLY COMMENT ON OUR FINDINGS.

  BACKGROUND OF THE ACT

          IN THE EARLY 1970'S SEVERAL EVENTS PROMPTED THE PASSAGE OF

  LEGlSLATION AIMED AT ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL PROGRAM TO PROTECT HUMAN

  LIFE AND PROPERTY FRO::   THE HAZARDS OF IMPROPERLY CONSTRUCTED OR POORLY

  MAINTAINED WATER STORAGE DAMS-

          -- IN FEBRUARY 1971, DURING THE SAN FERNANJO EARTHQUAKE,   THE LOWER

            VAN NORMAN DAM ALMOST FAILED.   THT- THREATENED THE ADJACENT

            DOWNSTREAM COMMUNITY OF 80,000 PEOPLE WHICH WOULD HAVE SEEN

            INUNDATED.
     -- AS A RESULT OF THE FAILURE OF AN UNENGINEERED COAL WASTE

       DAM, THE BUFFALO CREEK, WEST VIRGINIA, DISASTER OF FEBRUARY 26,

       1972, RESULTED IN 125 LIVES LOST, DAMAGE OF OVER $50 MILLION,

       AND 4,000 PEOPLE LEFT HOMELESS.

     -- IN JUNE 1972, 230 PEOPLE WERE KILLED BY A FLOOD NEAR RAPID

       CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, WHEN THE CANYON LAKE DAM FAILED AS A

       RESULT OF UNUSUALLY HEAVY RAINS.    DAMAGE WAS SET AT OVER

       $100 MILLION DOLLARS.

     -- ALSO, IN JUNE 1972, HURRICANr AGNES CAUSED EXTREMELY HEAVY

       RAINFALL RESULTING IN1   UNUSUALLY HEAVY FLOODING IN    .E NORTH-
       EASTERN UNITED STATES.    A LARGE NUMBER OF DAMS WETE THREATENED.

       SOME OF WHICH WERE OVERTOPPED AND DAMAGED.

     THESE EVENTS FOCUSED PUBLIC CONCERN ON THE POTENTIAL HAZARDS POSED

BY WATER STORAGE DAMS.    HEARINGS WERE HELD IN THE LATE SPRING AND

SUMMER OF 1372 AI\D THE CONGRESS QUICKLY PASSED FEDrfAL LEGISLATION

AIMED AT MINIMIZING HAZARDS TO HUMAN LIFE AND PROPERTY.

     ON AUGUST 8, 1972, THE PRESIDENT SIGNED PUBLIC LAW 92-367.

UNDER THIS LAW THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, ACTING THROUGH THE CORPS

OF ENGINEERS, WAS DIRECTED TO INSPECT ALL DAMS IN THE UNITED STATES

EXCEPT (1) DAMS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION,

THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, AND THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND

.WATERCOMMISSION,   (2) DAMS CONSTRUCTED PURSUANT TO LICENSES ISSUED

t=DER THE AUTHORITY OF THE FEDERAL POWER ACT,   (3) DAMS WHICH HAD

BEEN INSPECTED BY A STATE AGENCY WITHIN THE 12-MONTH PERIOD IM-

MEDIATELY PRECEEDING THE ENACTMENT OF THE LAW AND FOR WHICH THE

GOVERNOR OF THE RESPECTIVE STATE REQUESTED EXCLUSION, AND     (4)   DAMS


                                    2
WHICH THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY DETERMINED DO NOT POSE ANY THREAT TO

HUMAN LIFE AND PROPERTY.    THE SECRETARY WAS ALSO REQUIRED TO REPOR'?

ANY POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS TO THE CONCERNED STATE GOVERNORS

AND, UPON REQUEST, TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL ADVICE RELATED TO THE REMEDIAL

MEASURES NECESSARY TO RECTIFY OR ELIMINATE ANY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS.

     THE LAW FURTHER REQUIRED THE SECRETARY TO REPORT TO THE CONGRESS

BY JULY 1, 1974,   ON HIS ACTIVITIES UNDER THE LAW.   THE REPOPT WAS TO

 'CLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO (1) AN INVENTORY OF ALL DAMS LOCATED

IN THE UNITED STATES,    (2) A REVIEW OF EACH INSPECTION MADE, AND

(3) RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR THE

INSPECTION AND RECTILATION OF DAMS FOR SAFETY PURPOSES, INDICATING

THE RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES WHICH SHOULD BE ASSUMED BY FEDERAL,

STATE, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND BY PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INTERESTS.

     THE LAW DEFINED THE TERM "DAM" TO MEAN ANY ARTIFICIAL BARRIER

WHICH IMPOUNDS OR DIVERTS WATER AND WHICH IS 25 OR MORE FEET IN

HEIGHT OR HAS AN IMPOUNDING CAPACITY OF 50 OR MORE ACRE-FEET.        THE

LAW SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED ANY BARRIER WHICH IS SIX FEET OR LESS IN

HEIGHT, REGARDLESS OF STORAGE CAPACITY, AND BARRIERS WHICH HAVE

AN IMPOUNDING CAPACITY OF LESS THAN 15 ACRE-FEET, REGARDLESS OF

HEIGHT.

     THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, BY LETTER DATED JULY 24,       1974-

ADVISED THE CONGRESS THAT THE CORPS WAS    (1) COMPILING AN INVENTORY

OF ALL DAMS IN THE NATION,    (2) SURVEYING THE FEDERAL AND STATES'

DAM SAFETY INSPECTION PROGRAMS,    (3) DEVELOPING GUIDELINES FOR DAM

INSPECTIONS, AND   ,)   FORMULATING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A NATIONAL PRO-

GRAM FOR THE REGULATION AND INSPECTION OF DAMS FOR SAFETY PURPOSES.

THE ACTING SECRETARY SAID THAT WHILE THE AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION

                                     3
PROVIDED FOR THE INSPECTION OF NON-FEDERAL DAMS, NO SUCH INEPECTIONS

HAD BEEN MADE, AND NONE WERE PLANNED, BECAUSE THE CORPS BELIEVED

THAT THE STATES SHO'JLD PERFORM SUCH INSPECTIONS AS PART OF THEIR

NORMAL RESPONSIBILITIES.

     EARLIER, IN FEBRUARY 1973, THE CORPS HAD ADVISED THE HOUSE

COMMITTEE ON AFPPOPRIATIONS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS, THAT IT

DID NOT INTEND TO IMPLEMENT THAT SECTION OF THE LAW WHICH PERTAINED

TO ACTUAL INSPECTION OF NON-FEDERAL DAMS.      NO REQUESTS WERE MADE TO

THE CONGRESS FOR APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH INSPECTIONS.

     IN JUN1t   1975, THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS SUBMITTED TO THE SECRETARY

OF THE ARMY A FIVE VOLUME DOCUMENT CONTAINING HIS PROPOSED "NATIONAL

PROGRAM OF' INSPECTION OF DAMS."    DRAFT LEGISLATION FOR A DAM SAFETY

PROGRAM WAS SUBMITTED BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS TO THE ASSISTANT

SECRETARY OF THE ARMY    (CIVIL FUNCTIONS)   IN DECEMBER 1975.

     IN MARCH 1976, THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY SUBMITTED TO THE OFFICE

OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET    (OMB) ALL FIVE VOLUMES AND DRAFT LEGISLATION

RECOMMENDING THAT THE CORPS' PROPOSED NATIONAL PROGRAM OF DAM SAFETY

BE IMPLEMENTED.     FOUR OF THE VOLUMES, CONTAINING THE INVENTORY OF

DAMS, WERE RELEASED TO THE CONGRESS, FEDERAL AGENCIES, AND STATES ON

APRIL 2, 1976.     ON NOVEMBER 16, 1976, TH'' DRAFT LEGISLATION AND THE

FIFTH VOLUME, WHICH CONTAINED THE CORPS' RECOMMENDATIONS, WERE

RELEASED TO THE CONGRESS.

     WITHIN THE PAST YEAR THE FAILURES OF TWO DAMS HAVE REFOCUSED

PUBLIC CONCERN ON THE POTENTIAL HAZARDS POSED Bi WATER STORAGE DAMS:

     -- ON FEBRUARY 22, 1976, A 30-FOOT HIGH EARTHEN DAM ON A PRIVATE

       LAKE GAVE WAY AND WATER LUNGED DOWN NEWFOUND CREEK NEAR


                                     4
       CANTON, NORTH CAROLINA.     AS A RESULT OF THIS FLOOD, FOUR

       PEOPLE WERE KILLED, 6 HOMES WERE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED,

       AND DAMAGE WAS ESTIMATED AT $115,600.

     -- ON JUNE 5, 1976, THE BUREAU CF RE:LAMATION'S   300-FOOT HIGH

       TETON DAM NEAR NEWDALE, IDAHO, CO:LAPSED UNLEASHING 80

       BILLION GALLONS OF WATER.     ELEVEN PEOPLE WERE KILLED, AND

       MORE THAN A THOUSAND WERE INJURED.     SEVERAL COMMUNITIES WERE

       DEVASTATED AND PROPERTY DAMAGE ESTIMATES RANGED FROM $400

       MILLION TO A BILLION DOLLARS.

SUMMARY OF GAO OBSERVATIONS ON-
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACT

     THE REMAINDER OF MY STATEMENT WILL DISCUSS ACTIONS WHICH THE

SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, ACTING THROUGH THE CORPS, HAS TAKEN PURSUANT

TO THE 1972 LAW.   OUR OBSERVATIONS RELATE TO THE:   (1) DECISION NOT

TO INSPECT DAMS,   (2) ACTIONS TO DEVELOP A NATIONAL DAM INVENTORY,

(3) CORPS'   RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A NATIONAL DAM SAFETY PROGRAM,

(4) ESTIMATED COST OF INSPECTIONS, AND    (5) ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS

TO THE CORPS' RECOMMENDED PROGRAM.     OUR OBSERVATIONS,   I WOULD STRESS

AGAIN, ARE NECESSARILY TENTATIVE SINCE WE HAVE NOT COMPLETED OUR WORK.

     DECISION NOT TO INSPECT DAMS

     TO DATE, THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS HAS MADE NO ACTUAL, INSPECTIO!1

OF DAMS PURSUANT TO THE NATIONAL DAM INSPECTION ACT.

    CORPS OFFICIALS ADVISED US THAT THEY HAD ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO

UNDERTAKE A DAM INSPECTION PROGRAM.     IN DECEMBER 1972 A BUDGET PROPOSAL

WAS SUBMITTED TO OMB FOR THE NECESSARY FUNDS.     THEIR INTENTION WAS

TO BEGIN INSPECTION ACTIVITIES WITH A SAMPLING OF DAMS.       THE FUNDING

PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED BY OMb AND NO APPROPRIATION REQUEST WAS THERE-
AFTER MADE TO THE CONGRESS UNDER P.L. 92-367
                                             EXCEPT FOR COLLECTING
 INVENTORY DATA ON DAMS.

      IN JANUARY 1973, OMB ISSUED A POLICY STATEMENT
                                                     DIRECTING THE
CORPS TO FULFILL ALL CONDITIONS REQUIRED BY THE
                                                LAW, EXCEPT THAT
INSPECTIONS, TO THE EXTENT THERE WERE ANY, WERE
                                                TO BE ACCOMPLISHED
BY THE CONCERNED STATES.

     WITH REGARD TO THE NEED FOR THE INSPECTION OF
                                                   DAMS, WE NOTED
THAT IN ITS 1972 REPORT ON THE PROPOSED NATIONAL
                                                 PROGRAM FOR INSPECTION
OF DAMS, THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS STATED
                                              THAT THERE WAS NO UNDER-
STANDING OF THE SCOPE AND NATURE OF THE PROBLEM
                                                OFr DAM SAFETY AND
THEREFORE THERE WAS NO WAY TO DETERMINE THE
                                            DANGERS THAT EXISTED OR
THE TYPE OF REMEDIAL ACTION NEEDED,

     SUBSEQUENT TO THE BUFFALO CREEK DISASTER THE
                                                  CORPS INSPECTFD
687 COAL MINE REFUSE IMPOUNDMENTS BETWEEN 1972
                                               AND 1975, HOWEVER, NO
INSPECTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE CORPS PURSUANT
                                                 TO P.L. 92-367.
THERPEORE,   THE SITUATION DESCRIBED IN THE COMMITTEE REPORT
                                                             APPEARS
TO US TO REMAIN ESSENTIALLY UNCHANGE:' TODAY.

     CORPS OFFICIALS TOLD US THAT, UNLESS   INSPECTIONS ARE MADE, THEY
DO NOT KNOW WHAT DANGERS EXIST IN DAMS IN THE
                                              UNITED STATES.    THEY
TOLD US ALSO THAT A SAMPLING OF DAM INSPECTIONS
                                                WOULD HAVE HELPED IN
THE FORMULATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A NATIONAL
                                                  DAM SAFETY PROGRAM.
     ACTIONS TO DEVELOP A NATIONAL DAM INVENTORY

     PURSUANT TO THE 1972 LAW, THE CORPS DEVELOPED
                                                   AN INVENTORY OF
APPROXIMATELY 49,000 DAMS LOCATED IN THE 50
                                            STATES AND FOUR U.S.
TERRITORIES.   THE DATA FOR THE DAM INVENTORY WAS GATHERED
                                                           BY FEDERAL
AND STATE AGENCIES, AND PRIVATE ENGINEERING
                                            FIRMS UNDER CONTRACT WITH
THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS.    THEY SUBMITTED THE INVENTORY DATA ON A TWO-


                                    6
 PART INVENTORY FORM PREPARED BY THE CORPS.   PART I INCLUDED INFORMA-
 TION ON LOCATION, SIZE, AND TYPE OF DAMS, AND PART
                                                    II CONTAINED OTHER
 INFORMATION INCLUDING DOWNSTREAM HAZARDS AND PAST
                                                   INSPECTIONS.
      BECAUSE OF FUND LIMITATIONS, THE CORPS DISCOURAGED
                                                         DAM SITE
VISITS FOR INVENTORYING PURPOSES AND REQUIRED THE
                                                  COMPLETION ONLY OF
PART I OF THE INVENTORY DATA FORM, USING AVAILABLE
                                                   INFORMATION AND
ESTIMATES.   THE CORPS SAID THAT NO FUNDS SHOULD BE SPENT FOR PART
                                                                   II
OF THE INVENTORY DATA.    PART II DATA WAS TO BE COLLECTED ONLY IF

THE INFORMATION WAS READILY AVAILABLE.

     IN 1973, CORPS OFFICIALS STATED IN AN INTERNAL MEMORANDUM
                                                               THAT
SUBMISSION OF ALL PART I AND II DATA WOULD RESULT
                                                  IN A "FIRST CLASS"
:NVENTORY AT AN ESTIMATED COST OF $7.4 MILLION.    HOWEVER, THE'" SAID
THAT A "BARE BONES"   INVENTORY (EXCLUDING MOST OF THE INFORMATION IN

PART II) COULD BE COMPILED FOR AN ESTIMATL3 $3.4 MILLION.
                                                             THE
LESSER AMOUNT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY REQUESTED AND WAS
                                                 APPROPRIATED BY
THE CONGRESS OVER A 3-YEAR PERIOD.

     BECAUSE OF THE DECISION TO CONCENTRATE ON COLLECTING
                                                          INFORMATION
REQUESTED IN PART I OF THE INVENTORY DATA FORM, AT
                                                   LEAST ONE IMPORTANT
ITEM OF INFORMATION, THE POTENTIAL DOWNSTREAM EAZARD
                                                     CLASSIFICATION,
RECEIVED ONLY CURSORY ATTENTION IN MANY CASES.    IT WAS INCLUDED IN
THE INFORMATION TO BE OBTAINED IN PART II OF THE INVENTORY
                                                           DATA FORM
AND THIS INFORMATION W;S USED BY THE CORPS TO DETER:IINE
                                                         WHICH DAMS
POSED THE HIGHEST POTEN'IAL HAZARDS AND WARRANTED
                                                  IMMEDIATE INSPECTION.
     THE ACCURACY OF THE HAZARD CLASSIFICATIONS ASSIGNED
                                                         TO THE DAMS
IS QUESTIONABLE, IN OUR OPINION, BECAUSE OF OMISSIONS
                                                        (19 PERCENT
OF THE DAMS WERE NOT CLASSIFIED), HAZARD DEFINITIONS
                                                     WERE AMBIGUOUS,


                                   7
INCONSISTENT PROCEDURES WERE USED TO COLLECT INFORMATION, AND THE

INFORIIATION USED WAS NOT RELIABLE.

      MOST OF THE DATA INCLUDED IN THE FINAL INVENTORY COMPILATTON

CAME FROM PART I OF THE INVENTORY DATA FORM AND CORPS OFFICIALS TOLD

JS THAT THEY CONSIDER IT TO BE ABOUT 90 PERCENT ACCURATE.       HOWEVER,
FOR THE MOST PART, THE CORPS HAS NOT VERIFIED THIS DATA.       MANY FEDERAL
AND STATE OFFICIALS TOLD US THAT THE ONLY RELIABLE METHOD OF VERIFYINtG

INVENTORY DATA IS TO VISIT EACH DAM SITE.

      WE DID NOT ATTEMPT TO DETERMINE THE OVERALL ACCURACY OF THE

INVENTORY.      HOWEVER, WE DID FIND CERTAIN 1NACCURACIES AND INCONSIS-

TENCIES.      SOME DAMS, FOR EXAMPLE, WERE LISTED MORE THAN ONCE, SOME

HAD INCORRECT DESCRIPTIVE INFORMATION ON THE INVENTORY DATA FORM, AND

SOME DAMS WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN LISTED IN THE INVENTORY WERE NOT.

CERTAIN STATE AND FOREST SERVICE OFFICIALS TOLD US THAT THERE ARE

!iANY DAi:S   %WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE INVENTORY BECAUSE THEY ARE

TOO SMALL TO MEET THE CRITERIA PRESCRIBED BY THE LAW, BUT WHICH

COULD BE HAZARDOUS IF -THEY WERE TO FAIL.

      CORPS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A
      NATIONAL DAM SAFETY PROGRAM

      THE CORPS' REPORT TO THE CONGRESS OF NOVEMBER 16, 1976,

RECOMMENDED THAT:

      -- A NATIONAL DAM SAFETY PROGRAM SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED BY EN-

        COURAGING ALL STATES AND TERRITORIES TO PURSUE INDIVIDUAL

        DAM SAFETY PROGRAMS ENCOMPASSING ALL DAMS NOT UNDER FEDERAL

        AUTHORITY,

     -- ALL EXISTING DAMS WHICH HAVE A HIGH OR SIGNIFICANT HAZARD

        POTENTIAL SHOULD BE INSPECTED OVER A REASONABLE TIME AS A

        FIRST STEP IN IMPLEMENTING THE NATIONAL PROGRAM,
      -- FEDERAL AGENCIES WITH TECHNICAL EXPERTISE SHOULD FURNISH

          GUIDANCE TO THE STATES UPON REQUEST AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

          SHOULD PURSUE SAFETY PROGRAMS OF THEIR OWN, AND

      -- THE CORPS SHOULD BE PROVIDED AUTHORITY AND FUNDS TO MAINTAIN

          THE NATIONAL DAM INVENTORY.

      IN ADDITION, THE CORPS' PROPOSEn LEGISLATION FOR A NATIONAL

DAM SAFETY PROGRAM RECOMMENDS MANDATORY PARTICIPATION FOR FEDERAL

AGENCIES WITH DAM REGULATION RESPONSIBILITIES, AND DIRECTS ALL

FEDERAL AGENCIES WITH INADEQUATE SAFETY PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE THEIR

PROGRAAIS.

     IN ITS REPORT THE CORPS STATED THAT RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAM SAFETY

SEOUD RFST WITH THE DAMI   OWNERS, BUT THAT GOVERNMENTAL REGULATION

IS NEEDED TO ASSURE THE OWiNERS'    OELIGATOCNS ARE PROPERLY CARRIED OUT.

SIMILAR REGULATIONS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR BUILDING CODES,

ELEVATOR INSPECTIONS, BRIDGE INSPECTIONS, AND OTHER AREAS WHERE

GOVERNMENTAL REGULATION HAS BEEN NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC.

     THE CORPS'   REPORT CONCLUDED THAT MANY STATES HAVE INADEQUATE OR

NON-EXISTENT DAM SAFETY PROGRAMS DUE PRIMARILY TO LACR OF FUNDS AND

STAFF TO PERFORM INSPECTIONS.      ALTHOUGH THE CORPS RECOGNIZED THE

STATES'   LIMITATIONS, THE CORPS' PROPOSED DAM INSPECTION PROGRAM WOULD

NOT BE MANDATORY FOR STATES AND CORPS OFFICTALS TOLD US THAT THERE

ARE NO ASSURANCES THE STATES WOULD CARRY OUT A DAM SAFETY PROGRAM

UNLESS THEY RECEIVE FUNDING.

     WE ARE NOT TOO HOPEFUL THAT THE CORPS'    RECOMIIIENDATIONS   WILL RESULT
IN ANY IliMEDIATE OR SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES TO EXISTING STATE PROGRAMS,

PRINCIPALLY BECAUSE STATE PARTICIPATION    IS LEFT ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS.


                                     9
THE CORPS RECOMMENDATIONS WOULD REQUIRE THE STATES TO VOLUNTARILY

MAKEE IMPORTANT AND IN SOME CASES EXPENSIVE IMPROVEMEN .S TO THEIR

PROGRAMS.   SINCE THERE COULD BE A PROBLEM IN ASKING THE STATES

TO VOLUNTARILY CARRY OUT A DAM SAFETY PROGRAM FOR WHICH THEY MAY

NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT RESOURCES,   IT APPEARS TO US THAT SOME PROPOSAL

FOR FINANCIAL OR OTHER INCENTIVES WOULD BE NECESSARY.

     ESTIMATED COST OF INSPECTIONS

     THE CORPS HAS PROPOSED THAT AS A FIRST STEP INSPECTIONS SHOULD

BE PERFORMED ON THOSE DAMS CLASSIFIED AS HIGH OR SIGNIFICANT HAZARD.

THE CORPS STATED IN ITS REPORT THAT, OF THE 49,000 DAMS INVENTORIED,

APPROXIMATELY 20,000 COULD BE SIGNIFiCANTLY OR   iIGHLY HAZARDOUS TO

POPULATIONS DOWNSTREAM.   SINCE THE ACCURACY OF THE iNVENTORY DATA

IS QUESTIONABLE, NEITHER WE NOR THE CORPS CAN ACCURATELY DETERMINE

THE NUMBER OF HIGH OR SIGNIFICANT HAZARD DAMS.    HOWEVER, OUR ANALYSIS

OF THE CORPS' INVENTORY DATA INDICATED THAT THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY

16,E00 HIGH AND SIGNIFICANT HAZARD DAMS.

     THE CORPS REPORTED AN ESTIMATED COST OF ITS PROPOSED PROGRAM

TO BE ABOUT $73.5 ::ILLION PER YEAR ($8 MILLION FEDERAL; $65.5 MILLION

STATE) FOR INSPECTION AND REGULATION EXPENSES, INCLUDING SUCH THINGS

AS INITIAL INSPECTIONS, PERIODIC INSPECTIONS, AND REVIEW AND APPROVAL

OF PLANS.   ACCORDING TO THE CORPS, THIS $73.5 MILLION IS APPROXIMATELY

SEVEN TIMES THE ANNUAL AMOUNT CURRENTLY SPENT FOR DAM SAFETY ACROSS

THE !iATION AND REPRESENTS AN AVERAGE ANNUAL COST OF ABOUT $1,500

PER DAM TO IMPLEMENT TEE CORPS' PROPOSED INSPECTION GUIDELINES.

HOWEVER, THREE STATES ESTIMATED THE AVERagE ANNUAL COST TO IMPLEi'IENT

THESE GUIDELINES TO BE LESS THAN $500 PER DAM.    ANOTHER STATE ESTIMATED

THAT IT SPENT AN AVERAGE OF $1,360 PER DAM FOR ITS PROGRAM.

                                   10
     THE CORPS REPORTED THAT OUT CF TEE $73.5 MILLION PER YEAR

ESTIMATE,    $30 MILLION WOULD BE REQUIRED FOR INITIAL INSPECTION

OF HIGH AND SIGNIFICANT HAZARD D:AMS.     OUR ANALYSIS OF THE CORPS'
DATA INDICATED THE INITIAL INSPECTION COST FOR SUCH DAMS WOULD

BE ABOUT $20 MILLION PER YEAR.    MANY STATES BELIEVE THE CORPS HAS

OVERESTIMATED THE COST OF INITIAL INSPECTIONS.      THREE STATES ESTIMATED
INITIAL INSPECTION COSTS TO BE LESS THAN $400 PER DAM COMPARED

WITH THE CORPS'   ESTIMATE OF $7,500.    ALSO, SOME DAMS INCLUDED IN

THE CORPS'   ESTIMATE MAY NOT NEED INITIAL INSPECTIONS BECAUSE OF

ONGOING FEDERAL AND STATE INSPECTION PROGRAMS.

     REGULATORY AND INSPECTION COSTS, HOWEVER, ARE BY NO MEANS ALL OF

THE COSTS INVOLVED IN A DAM SAFETY PROGRAM.     A SOUND PROGRAM WOULD
ALSO HAVE SIZEABLE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH REMEDIAL ACTIONS TO CORRECT

DAAGEROUS DAM STRUCTURES.    CORPS OFFICIALS STATED THAT THESE COSTS

CANNOT BE ESTIMATED UNTIL INSPECTIONS ARE PERFORMED.

     ANOTHER IMPORTANT FACTOR WHICH MUST BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN

CONSIDERING DAM 7NSPECTION COSTS IS TEE COSTLY FEDERAL AND STATE

ASSISTANCE WHICH ENSUES FOLLOWING DAM FAILURES.

     ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS

     TO ASSIST THE CONGRESS IN DECIDING ON AN APPROPRIATE NATIONAL

DAM SAFETY PROGRAM, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN liELPFUL IF THE CORPS HAD

INCLUDED IN ITS REPORT OTHER APPROACHES OR MODIFICATIONS TO ITS AP-

PROACH FOR CARRVYI4G OUT SUCH A PROGRAM.    BASED ON A NUMBER OF VIEWS
WE RECEIVED, SOME OF THE ALTERNATIVES ARE:    (1) ESTABLISHING A NATIO1AL
DAM SAFETY INSURANCE PROGRAM THAT WOULD REQUIRE IMPLEMENTATION OF

SAFETY MEASURLS SUCH AS PERFORMING INSPECTIONS AND CORRECTING DEFI-

CIENCIES FOUND; AN INSURANCE PROGRAM MIGHT NECESSITATE SOME GOVERNMENT

                                    11
 UNDiRWRITING SIMILAR TO THE EXISTING NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE
                                                               PROGRAM,
 (2) ESTABLISHING UNIFORM MINIMUM INSPECTION GUIDELINES AND
                                                            REQUIRING
 THEY BE IMPLEMENTED INSTEAD OF ALLOWING EACH STATE AND AGENCY
                                                               TO
 ESTABLISH ITS OWN GUIDELINES; THIS PROGRAM MIGHT BE FINANCED
                                                              FROM
 FEDERAL, STATE, OR INDIVIDUAL OWNER FUNDS OR A COMBINATION
                                                            OF THESE,
 (3) ENCOURAGING FEDERAL AND STATE OFFICIALS TO COOPERATE ON
                                                             A REGIONAL
 BASIS TO AVOID OR MINiMIZE DUPLICATION AND OVERLAP AND TO
                                                           MAINTAIN
 A CONTINUING UNIFORM APPROACH TO THE DAM SAFETY PROGRAM;
                                                          THIS PROGRAM
MIGHT ALSO BE FINANCED FROM FEDERAL, STATE, OR INDIVIDUAL
                                                          OWNER FUNDS
CR A COMBINATION OF THESE, AND     (4) REQUIRING THE STATES TO ADOPT AND

IMPLEMENT AN ADEQUATE DAM SAFETY PROGRAM AS A PREREQUISITE
                                                           TO FUTURE
FUNDING OF FEDERAL DAM PROJECTS.

        THERE ARE ALSO OTHER ALTERNATIVES TO THE CORPS'   PROPOSAL THAT
STATES PERFORM THEIR OWN INSPECTIONS, INCLUDING (1) HAVING
                                                           A FEDERAL
AGENCY PERFOR?; INITIAL INSPECTIONS WITH JOINT PARTICIPATION
                                                             BY STATES
WHERE POSSIBLE AS OPPOSED TO STATES BEING RESPONSIBLE
                                                      FOR THE INSPEC-
TION,     (2) INITIALLY INSPECTING IN DETAIL ONLY THOSE DAMS WHICH
                                                                   ARE
BELIEVED TO HAVE STRUCTURAL DEFICIENCIES, INSTEAD OF
                                                     INSPECTING
ALL HIGH OR SIGNIFICANT HAZARD DAMS, AND (3) SELECTING
                                                       A PRIVATE
AGENCY TO PERFORM INSPECTIONS IN PLACE OF FEDERAL OR STATE
                                                           INSPECTIONS.
        OTHER MATTERS WHICH NEED TO BE CONSIDERED IN ESTAS'IcHIIG
                                                                  A
COMPREHENSIVE SAFETY PROGRAM BUT WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED
                                                        IN THE CORPS'
RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT DAli
                                                        SAFETY, AND
ENCOURAGING STATE AND LOCAL GOVEPNMENTS TO     (1) ADOPT ZONING LAWS
TO PREVENT COM!i!:XU'ITIES FRO:; BUILDING IN AREAS DO;WNSTREAM
                                                               FROM DAMS,
AND (2)    DEVISE WARNING SYSTEMS FOR EXISTING COMMUNITIES.    THESE


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AND OTHER PERTINENT MATTERS NEED TO BE CONSIDERED IN ANY OVERALL

DAM SAFETY PROGRAM.   IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH CONSIDERATION, IT
APPEARS TO US THAT THE CORPS WILL HAVE CONCEIVED A DAM INSPECTION

PROGRAM RATHER THAN A DAM SAFETY PROGRAM.

     WHILE MANY STATE AND FEDERAL DAM SAFETY OFFICIALS AGREE THERE

IS NEED FOR DAM SAFETY PROGRAMS, SCME QUESTION THE NEED FOR A "NATIONAL"

PROGRAM.   SOME HAVE SAID THAT THE STATES SHOULD BE ABLE TO DETERMINE
THE NEED FOR OR EXTENT OF THEIR OWN PROGRAMS.   OTHERS INDICATED TO US
THAT THE CORPS IS NOT RECOMMENDING A "NATIONAL" PROGRAM AND IS THERE-

FORE QUESTIONING THE NEED FOR SUCH A PROGRAM.



     IN CONCLUSION, MR. CHAIRMAN, I WOULD SAY THAT OUR OBSERVATIONS

TO DATE INDICATE THAT PROGRESS IN ACHIEVING THE IMPORTANT OBJECTIVES

OF THE 1972 ACT HAS BEEN SLOW AND UNCERTAIN, AND THE RESPECTIVE

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS

FOR IMPLEMENTING A DAM SAFETY PROGRAM ARE LARGELY UNSETTLED.

    WE WOULD BE HAPPY AT THIS POINT, MR. CHAIRMAN, TO RESPOND TO

ANY QUESTIONS YOU OR OTHER MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE MAY HAVE.




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