Language Translation
  Close Menu

Dam Owner FAQs

  • What does the overall condition mean in my dam inspection report?

    Dams may be rated within five different conditions:

    • SATISFACTORY: No existing or potential dam safety deficiencies recognized. Safe performance is expected under all conditions, including such events as infrequent hydrologic and/or seismic events.
    • FAIR: No existing dam safety deficiencies are recognized for normal loading conditions. Infrequent hydrologic and/or seismic events would probably result in a dam safety deficiency.
    • CONDITIONALLY POOR: A potential safety deficiency is recognized for unusual loading conditions which may realistically occur during the expected life of the structure. CONDITIONALLY POOR may also be used when uncertainties exist as to critical analysis parameters which identify a potential dam safety deficiency; further investigations and studies are necessary. Also, lack of documentation and plans may consider a dam as CONDITIONALLY POOR.
    • POOR: A potential dam safety deficiency is clearly recognized for normal loading conditions. Immediate actions to resolve the deficiency are recommended; reservoir (lake level) restrictions may be necessary until problem resolution.
    • UNSATISFACTORY: A dam safety deficiency exists for normal conditions. Immediate remedial action is required for problem resolution.
  • My dam is jurisdictional. What does it mean?

    A jurisdictional dam should meet one of the following conditions:

    • a drainage area above the dam equal or above than one square mile.
    • Reaches or exceed twenty feet in height from the original stream bed to the crest (top) of the dam.
    • Impounds a volume of one hundred acre-feet of water or above.
    • High-hazard classification through successful petition by a downstream property owner.
  • Do I have to be present during a dam inspection?

    No, your presence or any person associated (or interested) with the dam during the inspection is strongly recommended, however not required. A person other than yourself may be present.

  • I need to repair my dam/levee. Do I need a permit?

    All dams subject to Indiana DNR jurisdiction should file a permit application to complete the repairs. Indiana DNR may determine some exceptions apply, including regular maintenance, repairs needed to bring the structure back to original (approved) condition, and emergency situations. Owners should contact an engineer with expertise in dams and dam safety to help with possible maintenance/repair steps. View How to Procure the Services of an Engineer from

  • Who can inspect my dam/levee?

    Any Dam will be inspected according to the hazard classification assigned.

    High Hazard Structures

    • Must be inspected by a Licensed Professional Engineer registered in Indiana.
    • Conduct inspection every at least one time every two years and submit a report of the inspection in a form approved by the department to the Indiana DNR. The report must include at least the following information:
      • An evaluation of the structure's condition, spillway capacity, operational adequacy, and structural integrity.
      • A determination of whether deficiencies exist that could lead to the failure of the structure, and recommendations for maintenance, repairs, and alterations to the structure to eliminate deficiencies, including a recommended schedule for necessary upgrades to the structure.
    • If after an inspection the licensed professional engineer who conducted the inspection determines that maintenance, repairs, or alterations to a high hazard structure are necessary to remedy deficiencies in the structure, the owner shall perform the recommended maintenance, repairs, or alterations.

    Significant Hazard Structures

    • The Indiana DNR inspects at least one time every three years.
    • Statutory inspection fee of $200.

    Low Hazard Structures

    • The Indiana DNR inspects at least one time every five years.
    • Statutory inspection fee of $100
  • I have a dam. Should I notify Indiana DNR if I sell my property?

    Yes, you are required by law. According to IC 14-27-7.5-7, section (b): “The owner of a structure shall notify the department in writing of the sale or other transfer of ownership of the structure. The notice must include the name and address of the new owner of the structure.” Send an email to

  • I got a Dam Safety Inspection Report. Do I need to perform all the provided recommendations immediately?

    Repairs and maintenance recommended by Indiana DNR staff and/or owner’s Professional Engineer, should be performed as soon as possible. Indiana DNR recommends working with Dam Safety Program staff to set up a work schedule and address owner’s concerns for timely repairs and maintenance. Failure to perform necessary repairs and maintenance may subject owners to a notice of violation under IC 14-27-7.5-11.

  • Where do I get information about managing plants and fish in my pond/lake?

    See the Division of Fish & Wildlife's Private Pond and Lake Management web page.

Own a Dam?

Contact Us

If you have questions about an existing pond or dam or are planning to construct a dam, feel free to contact us:

Dam & Levee Safety Section
Division of Water
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington St, Room W264
Indianapolis, IN 46204


View More Events

 Top FAQs