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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: May 29, 2014
Jim Martin, 603 271-3710

National Dam Safety Awareness Day is May 31
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Encourages Residents to Learn about the Benefits and Risks Associated with Dams in their Area

Concord, NH - National Dam Safety Awareness Day occurs each year on May 31 and was created to encourage and promote individual and community responsibility and best practices for dam safety. It is also an opportune time to promote the benefits that dams offer.

Dams are a vital part of the American infrastructure, providing economic, environmental and social benefits. Since 1935, the NHDES Dam Bureau has been responsible for monitoring the safety of dams throughout New Hampshire by performing design reviews for new and reconstructed dams, and inspections on existing structures. The Bureau is also responsible for the year-round operation, maintenance and repair of almost 280 state-owned dams. Another major component of the Bureau’s oversight of dams includes working with the owners of dams that pose a significant threat to life and property to ensure that emergency action plans (a plan to define potential dam failure impacts and establish a coordinated response to those impacts) are created, routinely reviewed and periodically tested. All of these functions are ultimately meant to reduce the potential for dam failure.

On May 31, 1889, Johnstown, Pennsylvania experienced the worst dam failure in the history of the United States, with over 2,200 lives lost. Preventing another dam failure like that one, and raising dam safety awareness, is paramount to the success of this year’s National Dam Safety Awareness Day. Dam safety is a shared responsibility – you are encouraged to know your risk, know your role, know the benefits of dams, and take action.

To learn more about dam safety in New Hampshire please visit

You can also download a printable copy of the Living With Dams: Know Your Risks brochure from the FEMA Library (

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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