Emergency Action Plan – Dams & Spillways

From the 2006 “TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY”

Guidelines for Operation and Maintenance of Dams in Texas

Emergency Action Plan Guidelines
History has shown that dams sometimes fail and that often these failures cause loss of life, injuries and extensive property damage. You should prepare for this possibility by developing an emergency action plan which provides a systematic means to:

  • Identify potential problems that could threaten a dam.
  • Determine who would be at risk should a failure occur.
  • Expedite effective response actions to prevent failure.
  • Develop a notification plan for evacuating people to reduce loss of life and property damage should failure occur.

You are responsible for preparing a plan covering these measures and listing actions that you and operating personnel should take. You should be familiar with the local government officials and agencies responsible for warning and evacuating the public.

It is important that you make full use of others who are concerned with dam safety. Emergency plans will be more effective if they integrate the actions of others who can expedite response. People and organizations with whom you should consult in preparing an emergency action plan include numerous local participants, state and federal agencies.

An essential part of the emergency action plan is a list of agencies and persons to be notified in the event of a potential failure. Possible inclusions for this list should be obtained from and coordinated with local law- enforcement agencies and local disaster emergency services—key institutions that can activate public warning and evacuation procedures or that might be able to assist you, the dam owner, in delaying or preventing failure.

Certain key elements must be included in every notification plan. Information about potential inundation (flooding) areas and travel times for the breach (flood) wave is essential. Inundation maps are especially useful in local warning and evacuation planning, including identifying evacuation routes. Detailed information about identification of inundation areas or the development of maps can be found by contacting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Operation Plan Guidelines
Establishing an operation procedure or plan calls for detailed:

  • data on the physical characteristics of dam and reservoir
  • descriptions of dam components
  • operating instructions for operable mechanisms
  • instructions for inspections
  • instrumentation and monitoring guidelines
  • guidelines for maintenance
  • guidelines for emergency operations
  • bibliographic references

Establish a schedule for both day-to-day tasks and tasks performed less frequently throughout the year. The schedule should formalize inspection and maintenance procedures so that even an inexperienced person can determine when a task is to be done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *