ODNR teaches dam safety

Joedy McCreary

May 6, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

If you don’t own a dam, chances are you don’t know that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources work with people who own dams all the time. Monday, ODNR representatives Rodney J. Tornes, engineer, and Martin Joyce, planner, held a Dam Safety Engineering Program at the New Boston Community Building.

The program began with a presentation titled Dam Safety 101, which included Ohio dam safety laws, rules, and responsibilities, dam classification, dam failures, liability of dam ownership and the operation, maintenance and inspection of dams.

Scioto County Emergency Management Agency Director Kim Campbell said there are different classifications of dams, Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3. She said the classification is based on the amount of water that it holds back or the height of the structure itself.

“We sent out invitations to dam owners as well as response agencies in an effort to educate them on the responsibility and liability they have because of their dam,” Campbell said. “And to help them walk through what an emergency action plan they’re required to have for that structure might look like. And then to answer questions first responders might have as to things to look for if there was a breach or some kind of compromise to that dam or facility.”

Attending the meeting was a mix of individual dam owners and agencies, including ODNR, Shawnee State Park, Shawnee State Forest, Homeland Security, Ohio Emergency Management, fire departments, and EMS personnel.

“After this year, we will have covered about 50 or 52 of the counties around Ohio,” Tornes said. “This is the fourth year of this program. We’re regulatory, but we’re also a resource, where we’re trying to work with the dam owners to help them to be prepared for an emergency if it were ever to occur. And to keep their dams in good condition and to build them properly to begin with.”

Tornes said anyone with questions concerning dams can go to their website ohiodnr.com, and go to the Dam Safety Program under the Division of Soil and Water Resources or they can call 614-265-6731.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.