Proposed inventory legislation would ramp up safety requirements for state's dams
May 02, 2012
Legislation sponsored by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Marc Pacheco would provide low-interest loans for the state's municipalities to repair or dismantle unsafe dams, the Daily Hampshire Gazette
reports. The proposed legislation would also implement a tenfold fine increase for noncompliance with safety regulations (from $500 to $5,000 per day) and require a yearly dam inventory to be carried out by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Supporters of the inventory legislation
maintain that conducting annual checks will improve public safety and ensure emergency action plans are in place for dangerous dams.
A state auditor's report from last year revealed that 100 dams are in disrepair and will cost a total of $60 million to fix. For instance, the Upper Bondsville Dam, owned by the Belchertown Land Trust, requires as much as $400,000 for repairs or removal - a price tag the land trust cannot afford.
The land trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving open space in the town, noted on its website
that the dam "has consumed much of (the trust's) time and energy over the past two years."