Dam Safety

State law regulating the safety of dams in Maine is Title 37B MRSA , Chapter 24, entitled “Dam Safety” which assigns administration of the Maine Dam Safety Program (DSP) to the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, with duties to:

  • Inspect existing dams and reservoirs to determine their hazard potential
  • Review the design and construction of new and reconstructed dams
  • Assist dam owners develop emergency action plans (EAP’s) to minimize the effect of dam failure
  • Take all necessary actions in emergency situations of probable dam failure to protect life and property.

The Maine Dam Safety program facilitates Emergency Action Planning with owners of all high and significant hazard dams in Maine, inspects State-regulated dams for both hazard and condition, and recommends action on inspection findings. Maine has signed a Non Disclosure Agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) and we are not permitted to release any information on federal regulated dams.

The Program is funded by the State and FEMA grants. The principal grant is the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP) grant administered by FEMA.

Dam Safety Statistics

The Dam Safety Database list 672 Maine dams meet the definition of a dam qualifying them for regulation, assigned as follows:

  • 523 jurisdictional dams by the Maine Office of Dam Safety, which includes two dams (Woodland and Grand Falls) located on the Canadian border and co-regulated with the International Joint Commission (IJC) on dams
    • 41 High Hazard dams
    • 67 Significant Hazard dams
    • 415 Low Hazard dams
  • 149 jurisdictional dams by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
    • 34 High Hazard dams
    • 18 Significant Hazard dams
    • 97 Low Hazard dams

*These numbers may differ from the numbers listed on the National Inventory of Dams due to regulatory definition differences and/or delays in updating information.

Additionally, Maine has:

  • 7 Unclassified Hazard dams
  • 80 dams that have been removed
  • 322 non-jurisdictional dams that are undersized or breached and no longer require regulation

For more information, please contact us.

Dam Fact Sheets

Basic Terms of Dam Characteristics (pdf)

Dam Types (pdf)

Liability and Responsibility of Dam Owners (pdf)