Dam Safety


Welcome to Reclamation's Dam Safety Home Page. Links to the left can lead you to a diverse amount of dam safety and dam safety-related information.

From this page, you will be able to download public dam safety documents, gather information about Reclamation's Risk Management, locate dam safety training opportunities along with downloading the manual provided at our Best Practices for Dam Safety Risk Management course, and obtain full reports on Dam Safety Technology Development projects.

We hope you find these Dam Safety internet pages useful.

Once again ... Welcome!

Dam Safety - Evolution of a Program

In the spring of 1976, Teton Dam was the site of the most significant failure of a Bureau of Reclamation project in the agency's history. The failure of Teton Dam served as a catalyst for Reclamation's Dam Safety Program. For decades, Reclamation's Dam Safety Office has stood out internationally as a leader in its field. While Reclamation has always been concerned with the safety of its facilities, the failure of Teton Dam ushered in a new era of understanding and managing risk.

Mission Statement

"To ensure Reclamation dams do not present unreasonable risk to people, property, and the environment."

Dam Safety Overview

Reclamation's Dam Safety Program was officially implemented in 1978 with passage of the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act, Public Law 95-578. This act was amended in 1984 under Public Law 98-404, in 2000 under Public Law 106-377, in 2002 under Public Law 107-117, in 2004 under Public Law 108-439, and in 2015 under Public Law 114-113 (Reclamation Safety of Dams Act, as amended). Program Development and administration of safety of dams activities is the responsibility of Reclamation's Dam Safety Office located in Denver, Colorado.

Dams must be operated and maintained in a safe manner, ensured through inspections for safety deficiencies, analyses utilizing current technologies, and corrective actions if needed based on current engineering practices. In addition, evaluations include assessments of benefits foregone with the loss of a dam. For example, a failed dam can no longer provide needed fish and wildlife benefits.

The primary emphasis of the Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams (SEED) program is to perform site evaluations and to quickly identify dams which pose an increased threat to the public, and to quickly complete the related analyses in order to expedite corrective action decisions and safeguard the public and associated resources.

The Safety of Dams (SOD) program focuses on evaluating and implementing actions to resolve safety concerns at Reclamation dams. Under this program, Reclamation will complete studies and identify and accomplish needed corrrective action on Reclamation dams. The selected course of action relies on assessments of risks and liabilities with environmental and public involvement input to the decision-making process.

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Last Updated: 2/14/22