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State Auditor's Report Identifies Unsafe Dams in Need of $60M in Repairs

Type:  Announcements  



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Download the Press Release from State Auditor DeNucci's office

One hundred dams owned by 62 municipalities in Massachusetts are rated in unsafe or poor condition, including six dams deemed at high risk of failure, according to a new report released by outgoing State Auditor Joseph DeNucci's office on January 11, 2011. 


The six unsafe dams are located in Foxborough, Athol, Bolton, Danvers and Dudley, according to Auditor Joseph DeNucci's report.  Researchers found that the vast majority of the critical 100 municipal dams are relatively large, at least 15 feet in height or impounding at least 50 acre-feet of water.


The report found that 75 of the 100 dams reviewed by his office do not have formal, written emergency action plans "to ensure a reasoned approach to evacuation and emergency management" and that budget cuts have left the state office that regulates dams with 4.5 full-time equivalent employees, for a ratio of one employer per 640 regulated dams.  Owners of 23 of the dams had "no idea of what to do in an emergency" and owners of only seven of 63 dams rated as a significant hazard has a "well thought out" plan, according to the report. 


DeNucci called on the Legislature to enact a non-interest revolving loan program to assist cities and towns with the paying for repairs to the 100 dams, which his office estimates will cost $60 million.  The report found that Worcester County, with 32, had the largest number of critical dams.  Cities and towns own 647 of the 1,547 dams regulated by the state Office of Dam Safety.


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