Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
5/24/2020

Article 2. Dam Safety Act.

§ 10.1-604. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Alteration" means changes to an impounding structure that could alter or affect its structural integrity. Alterations include, but are not limited to, changing the height or otherwise enlarging the dam, increasing normal pool or principal spillway elevation or physical dimensions, changing the elevation or physical dimensions of the emergency spillway, conducting necessary repairs or structural maintenance, or removing the impounding structure.

"Board" means the Soil and Water Conservation Board.

"Construction" means the construction of a new impounding structure.

"Dam break inundation zone" means the area downstream of a dam that would be inundated or otherwise directly affected by the failure of a dam.

"Height" means the structural height of a dam which is defined as the vertical distance from the natural bed of the stream or watercourse measured at the downstream toe of the dam to the top of the dam.

"Impounding structure" means a man-made structure, whether a dam across a watercourse or other structure outside a watercourse, used or to be used to retain or store waters or other materials. The term includes: (i) all dams that are twenty-five feet or greater in height and that create an impoundment capacity of fifteen acre-feet or greater, and (ii) all dams that are six feet or greater in height and that create an impoundment capacity of fifty acre-feet or greater. The term "impounding structure" shall not include: (a) dams licensed by the State Corporation Commission that are subject to a safety inspection program; (b) dams owned or licensed by the United States government; (c) dams operated primarily for agricultural purposes which are less than twenty-five feet in height or which create a maximum impoundment capacity smaller than 100 acre-feet; (d) water or silt retaining dams approved pursuant to § 45.1-222 or § 45.1-225.1; or (e) obstructions in a canal used to raise or lower water.

"Owner" means the owner of the land on which a dam is situated, the holder of an easement permitting the construction of a dam and any person or entity agreeing to maintain a dam.

"Watercourse" means a natural channel having a well-defined bed and banks and in which water normally flows.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.1; 1986, c. 9; 1988, c. 891; 2001, c. 92; 2006, c. 30.

§ 10.1-604.1. Determination of hazard potential classification.

A. The hazard potential classification for an impounding structure shall be determined by one of the following procedures:

1. The owner of an impounding structure that does not currently hold a regular or conditional certificate from the Board, or the owner of an impounding structure that is already under certificate but the owner believes that a condition has changed downstream of the impounding structure that may reduce its hazard potential classification, may request that the Department conduct a simplified dam break inundation zone analysis to determine whether the impounding structure has a low hazard potential classification. The owner shall pay 50 percent of the cost of the analysis. If the Department finds that the impounding structure has a low hazard potential classification, the owner shall be eligible for general permit coverage in accordance with § 10.1-605.3. If the Department finds that the impounding structure appears to be a high or significant hazard potential structure, the owner's engineer shall provide further analysis in accordance with § 10.1-606.2 and the criteria set out in the Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20). The owner may be eligible for grant assistance in accordance with § 10.1-603.19.

2. The owner may propose a hazard potential classification that shall be subject to approval by the Board. To support the proposed hazard classification, an analysis shall be conducted by the owner's engineer and shall comply with the criteria set out in the Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20). If the engineer finds that the impounding structure has a low hazard potential classification, the owner shall be eligible for general permit coverage in accordance with § 10.1-605.3.

An impounding structure's hazard potential classification's determination shall include an analysis of those hazards created by flood and nonflood dam failures. In conducting the hazard potential classification, the Department or the owner's engineer may utilize an incremental damage analysis. When considering the failure of the impounding structure under a flood condition, such engineers shall only consider those hazards that exceed those created by the flood event.

B. Any owner aggrieved by a decision of the Department regarding his impounding structure shall have the right to judicial review of the final decision pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

C. The Board may adopt regulations in accordance with § 10.1-605 to establish a simplified methodology for dam break inundation zone analysis.

2011, c. 637.

§ 10.1-605. Promulgation of regulations by the Board; guidance document.

A. The Board shall adopt regulations to ensure that impounding structures in the Commonwealth are properly and safely constructed, maintained and operated. Dam safety regulations promulgated by the State Water Control Board shall remain in full force until amended in accordance with applicable procedures.

B. The Board's Impounding Structure Regulations shall not require any impounding structure in existence or under a construction permit prior to July 1, 2010, that is currently classified as high hazard, or is subsequently found to be high hazard through reclassification, to upgrade its spillway to pass a rainfall event greater than the maximum recorded within the Commonwealth, which shall be deemed to be 90 percent of the probable maximum precipitation.

1. Such an impounding structure shall be determined to be in compliance with the spillway requirements of the regulations provided that (i) the impounding structure will pass two-thirds of the reduced probable maximum precipitation requirement described in this subsection and (ii) the dam owner certifies annually and by January 15 that such impounding structure meets each of the following conditions:

a. The owner has a current emergency action plan that is approved by the Board and that is developed and updated in accordance with the regulations;

b. The owner has exercised the emergency action plan in accordance with the regulations and conducts a table-top exercise at least once every two years;

c. The Department has verification that both the local organization for emergency management and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management have on file current emergency action plans and updates for the impounding structure;

d. That conditions at the impounding structure are monitored on a daily basis and as dictated by the emergency action plan;

e. The impounding structure is inspected at least annually by a professional engineer and all observed deficiencies are addressed within 120 days of such inspection;

f. The owner has a dam break inundation zone map developed in accordance with the regulations that is acceptable to the Department;

g. The owner is insured in an amount that will substantially cover the costs of downstream property losses to others that may result from a dam failure; and

h. The owner shall post the dam's emergency action plan on his website, or upon the request of the owner, the Department or another state agency responsible for providing emergency management services to citizens agrees to post the plan on its website. If the Department or another state agency agrees to post the plan on its website, the owner shall provide the plan in a format suitable for posting.

2. A dam owner who meets the conditions of subdivisions 1 a through 1 h, but has not provided record drawings to the Department for his impounding structure, shall submit a complete record report developed in accordance with the construction permit requirements of the Impounding Structure Regulations, excluding the required submittal of the record drawings.

3. A dam owner who fails to submit certifications required by subdivisions 1 a through 1 h in a timely fashion shall not enjoy the presumption that such impounding structure is deemed to be in compliance with the spillway requirements of the Board's Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20).

4. Any dam owner who has submitted the certifications required by subdivisions 1 a through 1 h shall make (i) such certifications, (ii) the emergency action plan required by subdivision 1 a, and (iii) the certificate of insurance required by subdivision 1 g available, upon request and within five business days, to any person. A dam owner may comply with the requirements of this subdivision by providing the same information on a website and directing the requestor to such website. A dam owner who fails to comply with this subdivision shall be subject to a civil penalty pursuant to § 10.1-613.2.

C. The Board's regulations shall establish an incremental damage analysis procedure that permits the spillway design flood requirement for an impounding structure to be reduced to the level at which dam failure shall not significantly increase downstream hazard to life or property, provided that the spillway design flood requirement shall not be reduced to below the 100-year flood event for high or significant hazard impounding structures, or to below the 50-year flood event for low hazard potential impounding structures.

D. The Board shall consider the impact of limited-use or private roadways with low traffic volume and low public safety risk that are downstream from or across an impounding structure in the determination of the hazard potential classification of an impounding structure.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.2; 1986, c. 9; 1988, c. 891; 2010, cc. 249, 270; 2011, c. 323.

§ 10.1-605.1. Delegation of powers and duties.

The Board may delegate to the Director or his designee any of the powers and duties vested in the Board by this article, except the adoption and promulgation of regulations. Delegation shall not remove from the Board authority to enforce the provisions of this article. At each meeting of the Board, the Director shall identify those impounding structures that are currently classified as high hazard and determined noncompliant with the spillway requirements of the Board's Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20) or with statutory presumption provided by subsection B of § 10.1-605.

2006, c. 30; 2011, c. 323.

§ 10.1-605.2. Certain regulations affecting impounding structures.

The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board shall, in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), adopt regulations that consider the impact of downstream limited-use or private roadways with low traffic volume and low public safety risk on the determination of the hazard potential classification of an impounding structure under the Dam Safety Act (§ 10.1-604 et seq.).

2010, c. 41.

§ 10.1-605.3. General permit for certain impounding structures.

A. The Board shall develop a general permit for the regulation of low hazard potential impounding structures in accordance with § 10.1-605.

B. The regulations shall include the following:

1. A registration statement requiring:

a. The name and address of the owner;

b. The location of the impounding structure;

c. The height of the impounding structure;

d. The volume of water impounded; and

e. A certification from the owner that the impounding structure (i) is classified as low hazard pursuant to a determination by the Department or the owner's professional engineer in accordance with § 10.1-604.1; (ii) is, to the best of his knowledge, properly and safely constructed and currently has no observable deficiencies; and (iii) shall be maintained and operated in accordance with the provisions of the general permit.

2. A spillway design flood requirement of the 100-year flood. When appropriate, the spillway design flood requirement may be reduced to the 50-year flood in accordance with an incremental damage analysis.

3. A simplified emergency preparedness plan that provides:

a. Name and location information for the impounding structure;

b. Name of owner and operator and associated contact information;

c. Contact information for relevant emergency responders;

d. Procedures for notifying downstream property owners or occupants; and

e. Identification of any downstream roadways that would be impacted by a failure.

4. An annual inspection of the impounding structure by the owner. No inspection of the impounding structure by a licensed professional engineer shall be required if the owner certifies at the time of general permit coverage renewal that conditions at the impounding structure and downstream are unchanged.

5. Procedures for seeking and issuing coverage under the general permit.

6. A six-year term of coverage under the general permit after which time the owner shall reapply for coverage by filing a new registration statement. The Board may, by regulation, establish a fee for the processing of registration statements.

C. The owner shall notify the Department immediately of any change in circumstances that would cause the impounding structure to no longer qualify for coverage under the general permit. In the event of a failure or an imminent failure at the impounding structure, the owner shall immediately notify the local emergency services coordinator, the Department of Emergency Management, and the Department. The Department shall take actions in accordance with § 10.1-608 or 10.1-609, depending on the degree of hazard and the imminence of failure caused by the unsafe condition.

D. Failure to comply with the provisions of the general permit may result in penalties assessed in accordance with §§ 10.1-613.1 and 10.1-613.2.

E. In order to qualify for the provisions of § 10.1-606.3, a dam owner eligible for a general permit shall file a dam break inundation map with the Department and with the offices with plat and plan approval authority or zoning responsibilities as designated by the locality for each locality in which the dam break inundation zone resides in accordance with § 10.1-606.2.

F. If the failure of a low hazard potential impounding structure is not expected to cause loss of human life or economic damage to any property except property owned by the owner, the owner may follow the special criteria established for certain low hazard impounding structures in the Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20) in lieu of coverage under the general permit.

2011, c. 637.

§ 10.1-606. Local advisory committee.

When requested by the governing body of any affected county or city, the Board shall provide for the creation of a local advisory committee to advise the Board on impoundments within that locality. The advisory committee shall include, but not be limited to, representation of the owner and each affected county or city. Prior to the issuance of any permits under this article, the Board shall advise any existing local advisory committee of any affected jurisdiction for which a permit is being sought, and request comments from the committee on the permit application. No permit shall be issued until at least sixty days after such a local advisory committee has been so advised.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.3; 1984, c. 240; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-606.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2008, c. 491, cl. 2.

§ 10.1-606.2. Mapping of dam break inundation zones.

A. An owner of an impounding structure shall prepare a map of the dam break inundation zone for the impounding structure in accordance with criteria set out in the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20). Existing maps prepared by the locality in accordance with these regulations may be used for this purpose.

B. All maps prepared in accordance with subsection A shall be filed with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and with the offices with plat and plan approval authority or zoning responsibilities as designated by the locality for each locality in which the dam break inundation zone resides.

C. Owners of impounding structures may be eligible for matching grants of up to 50 percent from the Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund and other sources of funding available to the Director to assist in the development of dam break inundation zone maps and for conducting incremental damage assessments in accordance with the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations.

D. All properties identified within the dam break inundation zone shall be incorporated by the owner into the dam safety emergency action plan of that impounding structure so as to ensure the proper notification of persons downstream and other affected persons or property owners in the event of an emergency condition at the impounding structure.

2008, c. 491.

§ 10.1-606.3. Requirement for development in dam break inundation zones.

A. For any development proposed within the boundaries of a dam break inundation zone that has been mapped in accordance with § 10.1-606.2, the locality shall, as part of a preliminary plan review pursuant to § 15.2-2260, or as part of a plan review pursuant to § 15.2-2259 if no preliminary review has been conducted, (i) review the dam break inundation zone map on file with the locality for the affected impounding structure, (ii) notify the dam owner, and (iii) within 10 days forward a request to the Department of Conservation and Recreation to make a determination of the potential impacts of the proposed development on the spillway design flood standards required of the dam. The Department shall notify the dam owner and the locality of its determination within 45 days of the receipt of the request. Upon receipt of the Department's determination, the locality shall complete the review in accordance with § 15.2-2259 or 15.2-2260. If a locality has not received a determination within 45 days of the Department's receipt of the request, the Department shall be deemed to have no comments, and the locality shall complete its review. Such inaction by the Department shall not affect the Board's authority to regulate the impounding structure in accordance with this article.

If the Department determines that the plan of development would change the spillway design flood standards of the impounding structure, the locality shall not permit development as defined in § 15.2-2201 or redevelopment in the dam break inundation zone unless the developer or subdivider agrees to alter the plan of development so that it does not alter the spillway design flood standard required of the impounding structure or he contributes payment to the necessary upgrades to the affected impounding structure pursuant to § 15.2-2243.1.

The developer or subdivider shall provide the dam owner and all affected localities with information necessary for the dam owner to update the dam break inundation zone map to reflect any new development within the dam break inundation zone following completion of the development.

The requirements of this subsection shall not apply to any development proposed downstream of a dam for which a dam break inundation zone map is not on file with the locality as of the time of the official submission of a development plan to the locality.

B. The locality is authorized to map the dam break inundation zone in accordance with criteria set out in the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20) and recover the costs of such mapping from the owner of an impounding structure for which a dam break inundation zone map is not on file with the locality and a map has not been prepared by the impounding structure owner.

C. This section shall not be construed to supersede or conflict with the authority granted to the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy for the regulation of mineral extraction activities in the Commonwealth as set out in Title 45.1. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to permit the impairment of a vested right in accordance with § 15.2-2307.

2008, c. 491.

§ 10.1-606.4. Notice to the public.

A. When applying to the Department for a permit under the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations (4VAC50-20) to construct a new high or significant hazard potential impounding structure, the applicant shall provide localities that lie within the inundation zone with copies of the construction permit request and the dam break inundation zone map.

B. When submitting the application to the Department, the permit applicant shall publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected localities summarizing the permit request and providing the address of locations where copies of the construction permit request and the dam break inundation zone map may be examined. The applicant shall provide copies of the published notice to the Department and to the local government offices with plat and plan approval authority or zoning responsibilities as designated by the locality.

C. The Department may hold, on behalf of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, a public hearing on safety issues associated with the construction permit application for the impounding structure.

D. The Department may require a permit applicant to provide other forms of reasonable notice, such as the placement of a sign on the proposed site, to ensure that affected parties have been informed.

E. The permit applicant shall send, by certified mail, to each property owner within the dam break inundation zone, a summary of the permit request and the addresses of locations where the map of the dam break inundation zone may be viewed. In the case of a condominium or cooperative, such information shall be sent to each property owner or the owners' association. The permit applicant may rely upon real estate assessment records to identify property owners. If requested by the Department, the applicant shall provide a list of the persons to whom notice has been sent.

2008, c. 491; 2011, c. 637.

§ 10.1-607. Safety inspections.

No one shall maintain a dam which unreasonably threatens the life or property of another. The Board shall cause safety inspections to be made of impounding structures on such schedule as it deems appropriate. The time of the initial inspection and the frequency of reinspection shall depend on such factors as the condition of the structure and its size, type, location and downstream hazard potential. The owners of dams found to have deficiencies which could threaten life or property if not corrected shall take the corrective actions needed to remove such deficiencies within a reasonable time. All safety inspections shall be conducted by or under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer. Each report shall bear the seal and signature of the licensed professional engineer responsible for the inspection.

The Board shall be responsible for the inspection and reinspection of flood control dams where the maintenance and operation of the dam is the responsibility of a soil and water conservation district and where the permit for operation of the impounding structure is held by such a district.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.4; 1986, c. 209; 1988, c. 891; 2000, c. 14.

§ 10.1-607.1. Criteria for designating a dam as unsafe.

A. Designation of a dam as unsafe shall be based on one or more of the following findings:

1. The dam has serious deficiencies in its design or construction or has a physical condition that if left unaddressed could result in a failure that may result in loss of life or significant damage to downstream property.

2. The design, construction, operation, or maintenance of the dam is such that its expected performance during flooding conditions threatens the structural integrity of the dam.

B. After completion of the safety inspections pursuant to § 10.1-607, or as otherwise informed of an unsafe condition, the Department shall take actions in accordance with § 10.1-608 or 10.1-609 depending on the degree of hazard and imminence of failure caused by the unsafe condition.

2006, c. 30; 2010, c. 270.

§ 10.1-608. Unsafe dams presenting imminent danger.

When the Director finds an unsafe dam constituting an imminent danger to life or property, he shall immediately notify the Department of Emergency Management and confer with the owner. The owner of a dam found to constitute an imminent danger to life or property shall take immediate corrective action. If the owner does not take appropriate and timely action to correct the danger found, the Governor shall have the authority to take immediate appropriate action, without the necessity for a hearing, to remove the imminent danger. The Attorney General may bring an action against the owner of the impounding structure for the Commonwealth's expenses in removing the imminent danger. There shall be a lien upon the owner's real estate for the Commonwealth's expenses in removing the imminent danger. The owner may avoid the Commonwealth's costs, and recover any damages, upon proving that the dam was known to be safe at the time such action was taken, and that the owner had provided or offered to immediately provide such proof to the Director before the action complained of was taken. Nothing herein shall in any way limit any authority existing under the Emergency Services and Disaster Law (§ 44-146.13 et seq.).

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.5; 1986, c. 9; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-609. Unsafe dams presenting nonimminent danger.

A. Within a reasonable time after completion of a safety inspection of an impounding structure authorized by § 10.1-607, the Board shall issue a report to the owner of the impounding structure containing its findings and recommendations for correction of any deficiencies which could threaten life or property if not corrected. Owners who have been issued a report containing recommendations for correction of deficiencies shall undertake to implement the recommendations contained in the report according to the schedule of implementation contained in the report. If an owner fails or refuses to commence or diligently implement the recommendations for correction of deficiencies according to the schedule contained in an issued report, the Director shall have the authority to issue an administrative order directing the owner to commence implementation and completion of such recommendations according to the schedule contained in the report with modifications as appropriate. Within thirty days after being served by personal service or by mail with a copy of an order issued pursuant to this section, any owner shall have the right to petition the Board for a hearing. As part of his petition, a dam owner may submit to the Board his own plan, consistent with regulations adopted pursuant to § 10.1-605, to address the recommendations for correction of deficiencies and the schedule of implementation contained in the report. The Board shall determine if the submitted plan and schedule are sufficient to address deficiencies. A timely filed petition shall stay the effect of the administrative order.

The hearing shall be conducted before the Board or a designated member thereof pursuant to § 2.2-4019. The Board shall have the authority to affirm, modify, amend or cancel the administrative order. Any owner aggrieved by a decision of the Board after a hearing shall have the right to judicial review of the final Board decision pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

B. The provisions of subsection A of this section notwithstanding, if the Director determines, after the report is issued, that changed circumstances justify reclassifying the deficiencies of an impounding structure as an imminent danger to life or property, the Director may proceed directly under § 10.1-613 for enforcement of his order, and the owner shall have the opportunity to contest the fact based upon which the administrative order was issued.

C. The Director, upon a determination that there is an unsafe condition at an impounding structure, is authorized to cause the lowering or complete draining of such impoundment until the unsafe condition has been corrected at the owner's expense and prior to any authorization to refill.

An owner who fails to comply with the provisions contained in an administrative order of the Department shall be subject to procedures set out in § 10.1-613 and the penalties authorized under §§ 10.1-613.1 and 10.1-613.2.

D. No persons, other than those authorized to maintain an impounding structure, shall interfere with the operation of an impounding structure.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.6; 1986, cc. 9, 615; 1988, c. 891; 1999, c. 110; 2006, c. 30; 2010, c. 270.

§ 10.1-609.1. Installation of IFLOWS gauges.

A soil and water conservation district responsible for the maintenance and operation of a flood control dam shall be permitted to install Integrated Flood Observing and Warning Systems (IFLOWS) gauges and associated equipment, or a device approved by the Department of Emergency Management, while awaiting funds to make structural modifications to correct emergency spillway capacity deficiencies in the dam, identified by the Board in a report issued pursuant to § 10.1-609, when any of the following conditions exist: (i) funds are not available to make such structural modifications to the dam, (ii) the completion of such structural modifications requires the acquisition of additional property or easements by exercise of the power of eminent domain, or (iii) funds for the IFLOWS equipment or an equivalent device have been appropriated by the General Assembly. Installation of IFLOWS gauges or similar devices shall not affect the regulated status of the dam under the Virginia Dam Safety Act (§ 10.1-604 et seq.). Any IFLOWS gauges and associated equipment shall be installed in a manner approved by the Department of Emergency Management and shall be operated and maintained by the Department of Emergency Management.

1993, c. 709.

§ 10.1-609.2. Prohibited vegetation; certain wetland vegetation allowed.

A. Dam owners shall not permit the growth of trees and other woody vegetation and shall remove any such vegetation from the slopes and crest of embankments and the emergency spillway area and within a distance of 25 feet from the toe of the embankment and abutments of the dam.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall not apply to wetland vegetation, including woody shrubs, trees, and plants, that is growing on a permanent aquatic or safety bench that has been added to the upstream embankment slope of a regulated impounding structure if such vegetation is associated with a wetland mitigation bank or in-lieu fee site that (i) has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Quality and (ii) is the subject of a restrictive covenant or other permanent instrument that specifically protects the particular wetland vegetation from removal and is recorded among the land records of the locality. However, the Department may require the dam owner to remove trees by flush cutting unless the Department determines on the basis of site-specific information that the grubbing of roots is necessary to protect the integrity of the dam in a particular case.

C. Owners failing to maintain their dam in accordance with this section shall be subject to enforcement pursuant to § 10.1-613.

2006, c. 30; 2019, c. 148.

§ 10.1-610. Right of entry.

A. The Board and its agents and employees shall have the right to enter any property at reasonable times and under reasonable circumstances to perform such inspections and tests or to take such other actions it deems necessary to fulfill its responsibilities under this article, including the inspection of dams that may be subject to this article, provided that the Board or its agents or employees make a reasonable effort to obtain the consent of the owner of the land prior to entry.

B. If entry is denied, the Board or its designated agents or employees may make an affidavit under oath before any magistrate whose territorial jurisdiction encompasses the property to be inspected or entered for a warrant authorizing such investigation, tests or other actions. Such warrant shall issue if the magistrate finds probable cause to believe that there is a dam on such property which is not known to be safe. After issuing a warrant under this section, the magistrate shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54. After executing the warrant, the Board or its designated agents or employees shall return the warrant to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the investigation was made.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.7; 1988, c. 891; 2005, c. 117; 2014, c. 354.

§ 10.1-610.1. Monitoring progress of work.

A. During the maintenance, construction, or alteration of any dam or reservoir, the Department shall make periodic inspections for the purpose of securing conformity with the approved plans and specifications. The Department shall require the owner to perform at his expense such work or tests as necessary to obtain information sufficient to enable the Department to determine whether conformity with the approved plans and specifications is being secured.

B. If, after any inspections, investigations, or examinations, or at any time as the work progresses, or at any time prior to issuance of a certificate of approval, it is found by the Director that project modifications or changes are necessary to ensure conformity with the approved plans and specifications, the Director may issue an administrative order to the owner to comply with the plans and specifications. Within 15 calendar days after being served by personal service or by mail with a copy of an order issued pursuant to this section, any owner shall have the right to petition the Board for a hearing. A timely filed petition shall stay the effect of the administrative order. The hearing shall be conducted before the Board or a designated member of the Board pursuant to § 2.2-4019. The Board shall have the authority to affirm, modify, amend, or cancel the administrative order. Any owner aggrieved by a decision of the Board after a hearing shall have the right to judicial review of the final Board decision pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

C. Following the Board hearing, subject to judicial review of the final decision of the Board, if conditions are revealed that will not permit the construction of a safe dam or reservoir, the certificate of approval may be revoked. As part of the revocation, the Board may compel the owner to remove the incomplete structure sufficiently to eliminate any safety hazard to life or property.

2006, c. 30.

§ 10.1-611. Dam safety coordination.

The Board shall coordinate all impoundment safety activities in the Commonwealth, which shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the maintenance of an inventory of all impoundment structures and of all other similar structures that are not regulated under this article to the extent the Board deems necessary; (ii) the maintenance of a repository for record drawings of all such structures to the extent the Board deems necessary; (iii) the maintenance of an inventory of safety inspection reports for each such structure to the extent the Board deems necessary; and (iv) the maintenance of a secondary repository for all dam safety emergency action plans, which are primarily filed with the Department of Emergency Management. The Board shall consult with the Department of Emergency Management in its planning for impoundment safety and shall provide technical assistance in the preparation, updating, and execution of dam safety emergency action plans. It shall establish uniform maintenance-of-records requirements and uniform inspection standards to be applied to all impounding structures in the Commonwealth and to be recommended for all other similar structures. It may inspect or cause to be inspected state-owned or state-licensed dams on a cost-reimbursable basis at the request of the state agency owning the state-owned dam or of the licensor of the state-licensed dam.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.8; 1986, c. 9; 1988, c. 891; 2012, cc. 70, 230.

§ 10.1-611.1. Soil and Water Conservation District Dam Maintenance, Repair, and Rehabilitation Fund established; Department to manage; Board to expend moneys; regulations.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Soil and Water Conservation District Dam Maintenance, Repair, and Rehabilitation Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be comprised of moneys appropriated to the Fund by the General Assembly and any other moneys designated for deposit to the Fund from any source, public or private. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller and the moneys shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for (i) the maintenance and repair of any dams owned by soil and water conservation districts and (ii) the rehabilitation and major repair of Class I and Class II dams owned by soil and water conservation districts, in order to bring such dams into compliance with regulations promulgated pursuant to Article 2 (§ 10.1-604 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of this title. Expenditures from the Fund made under clause (ii) of this subsection may include, but are not limited to, the following repairs to the infrastructure of a dam: increasing the height of a dam, modifying the spillway, and reducing wave erosion of a dam's inside face. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

B. The Fund shall be administered and managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, subject to the right of the Board, following consultation with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, to direct the distribution of moneys in the Fund to particular soil and water conservation districts.

C. The Board is authorized to promulgate regulations for the proper administration of the Fund. Such regulations may include, but are not limited to, the type and amount of financial assistance, the terms and conditions of the assistance, and project eligibility criteria.

1997, c. 356; 2000, cc. 23, 205.

§ 10.1-612. Technical Advisory Committee.

The Board shall establish an Impoundment Safety Technical Advisory Committee to provide technical review. The Committee may make recommendations to the Board.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.9; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-612.1. Temporary stop work order; hearing; injunctive relief.

A. The Director may issue a temporary stop work order on a construction or alteration project if he finds that an owner is constructing or altering a dam without having first obtained the necessary certificate of approval, or if the activities are not in accordance with approved plans and specifications. The order shall include written notice to the owner of the date, time, and location where the owner may appear at a hearing before the Board or a designated member thereof pursuant to § 2.2-4019 to show cause why the temporary order should be vacated. The hearing shall be held within 15 calendar days of the date of the order, unless the owner consents to a longer period.

B. Following the hearing, the Board may affirm or cancel the temporary order and may issue a final order directing that immediate steps be taken to abate or ameliorate any harm or damage arising from the violation. The owner may seek judicial review of the final decision of the Board pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

C. If the violation continues after the Board has issued a final decision and order pursuant to subsection B or a temporary order issued by the Director pursuant to subsection A, the Board may apply for an injunction from the appropriate court. A decision to seek injunctive relief does not preclude other forms of relief, enforcement, or penalties against the owner.

2006, c. 30.

§ 10.1-613. Enforcement.

Any person or legal entity failing or refusing to comply with an order issued pursuant to this article may be compelled to comply with the order in a proceeding instituted in any appropriate court by the Board. The Board shall bring suit in the name of the Commonwealth in any court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin the unlawful construction, modification, operation, or maintenance of any dam regulated under this article. Such court may require the removal or modification of any such dam by mandatory injunction. If the court orders the removal of the dam, the owner shall be required to bear the expenses of such removal.

Should the Board be required to implement and carry out the action, the Board shall charge the owner for any expenses associated with the action, and if the repayment is not made within 90 days after written demand, the Board may bring an action in the proper court to recover this expense. The Board shall file an action in the court having jurisdiction over any owner or the owner's property for the recovery of such costs. A lien in the amount of such costs shall be automatically created on all property owned by any such owner at or proximate to such dam or reservoir.

1982, c. 583, § 62.1-115.10; 1988, c. 891; 2006, c. 30.

§ 10.1-613.1. Criminal penalties.

A. It is unlawful for any owner to knowingly:

1. Operate, construct, or alter a dam without an approval as provided in this article;

2. Violate the terms of an approval, order, regulation, or requirement of the Board or Director under this article; or

3. Obstruct, hinder, or prevent the Board or its designated agents or employees from performing duties under this article.

A violation of any provision of this subsection or this article is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

B. Each day that any such violation occurs after notice of the original violation is served upon the violator by the Board or its designated agents or employees by registered mail shall constitute a separate offense. Upon conviction, the violator is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 per day for each day of the offense, not to exceed a total fine of $25,000, with costs imposed at the discretion of the court. In determining the amount of the penalty, the appropriate court shall consider the degree of harm to the public; whether the violation was knowing or willful; the past conduct of the defendant; whether the defendant should have been on notice of the violation; whether the defendant has taken steps to cease, remove, or mitigate the violation; and any other relevant information.

2006, c. 30.

§ 10.1-613.2. Civil penalties.

In addition to or in lieu of any other forfeitures, remedies, or penalties authorized by law or regulations, any owner violating any provision of this article may be assessed a civil penalty of up to $500 per day by the Board not to exceed a maximum of $25,000.

In setting the civil penalty amount, the Board shall consider (i) the nature, duration, and number of previous instances of failure by the owner to comply with requirements of law relating to dam safety and the requirements of Board regulations and orders; (ii) the efforts of the owner to correct deficiencies or other instances of failure to comply with the requirements of law relating to dam safety and the requirements of Board regulations and orders that are the subject of the proposed penalty; (iii) the cost of carrying out actions required to meet the requirements of law and Board regulations and orders; (iv) the hazard classification of the dam; and (v) other factors deemed appropriate by the Board.

All civil penalties will be assessed by written penalty notice from the Board and given by certified mail or personal service. The notice shall state the specific reasons for the penalty, the number of days the Department considers the owner in violation, and the total amount due. Within 30 days after receipt of a copy of the order issued pursuant to this section, any owner subject to the civil penalty provisions shall have the right to petition the Board, in writing, for a hearing. A timely filed petition shall stay the effect of the penalty notice.

The hearing shall be conducted before the Board or a designated member thereof pursuant to § 2.2-4019. The Board shall affirm, modify, amend, or cancel the penalty notice within 10 days following the conclusion of the hearing. Any owner aggrieved by a decision of the Board after a hearing shall have the right to judicial review of the final Board decision pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

If any civil penalty has not been paid within 45 days after the final Board decision or court order has been served on the violator, the Board shall request the Attorney General to institute a civil action in the court of any county in which the violator resides or has his principal place of business to recover the amount of the assessment.

Civil penalties assessed under this section shall be paid into the Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund, established pursuant to § 10.1-603.17, and shall be used for the administration of the dam safety program, including for the repair and maintenance of dams.

2006, c. 30.

§ 10.1-613.3. No liability of Board, Department, employees, or agents.

An owner may not bring an action against the Commonwealth, the Board, the Department, or agents or employees of the Commonwealth for the recovery of damages caused by the partial or total failure of a dam or reservoir, or by the operation of a dam or reservoir, or by an act or omission in connection with:

1. Approval of the construction, alteration, or maintenance of a dam or reservoir, or approval of flood-operations plans during or after construction;

2. Issuance or enforcement of orders relating to maintenance or operation of the dam or reservoir;

3. Control or regulation of the dam or reservoir;

4. Measures taken to protect against failure of the dam or reservoir during an emergency;

5. Investigations or inspections authorized under this article;

6. Use of design and construction criteria prepared by the Department; or

7. Determination of the hazard classification of the dam.

2006, c. 30.

§ 10.1-613.4. Liability of owner or operator.

A. Notwithstanding subsection B, nothing in this article, and no order, notice, approval, or advice of the Director or Board shall relieve any owner or operator of an impounding structure from any legal duties, obligations, and liabilities resulting from such ownership or operation. The owner or operator shall be responsible for liability for damage to the property of others or injury to persons, including the loss of life resulting from the operation or failure of an impounding structure. Compliance with this article does not guarantee the safety of an impounding structure or relieve the owner or operator of liability in case of an impounding structure failure.

B. The owner of the land upon which an impounding structure owned, maintained, or operated by a soil and water conservation district is situated shall not be responsible for liability for damages to the property of others or injury to persons, including the loss of life, resulting from the operation or failure of the impounding structure. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply if the damages to the property of others or injury to persons is the result of an act or omission of the landowner unrelated to ownership, maintenance, or operation of the impounding structure.

C. Prior to dissolution or termination of an entity that owns an impounding structure, the entity shall either convey ownership to a third party by deed or other legal conveyance or decommission the impounding structure pursuant to the requirements of the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations. Prior to conveying ownership, the owner shall notify the Director of such transfer of ownership in accordance with requirements set out in the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations. Such notice to the Director shall include a warrant by the transferring owner that the transferee is a responsible party capable of discharging all obligations of an impounding structure owner imposed by law and regulations.

D. The Commonwealth, the Board, or the Department shall not be deemed to become an owner of an impounding structure by providing funding or other assistance for maintenance, repair, or decommissioning of an impounding structure owned by another person or entity.

2006, c. 30; 2014, cc. 146, 304, 593.

§ 10.1-613.5. Program administration fees; establishment of Dam Safety Administrative Fund.

A. The Board is authorized to establish and collect application fees from any applicant to be deposited into the Dam Safety Administrative Fund established pursuant to subsection B. Permit applications shall not be reviewed without a full payment of the required fee. Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts shall be exempt from all fees established pursuant to this section.

B. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Dam Safety Administrative Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. The Fund shall consist of permit application fees authorized under subsection A and shall be used for the administration of the dam safety program, including actions taken in accordance with §§ 10.1-608, 10.1-609, and 10.1-613. All such funds shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director.

2006, c. 30; 2010, c. 13.

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