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Dam Owner Information

Inspector at dam site

Responsibilities of Dam Owners

All dams should be operated and maintained in a safe manner. Under Indiana Code section 14-27-7.5-7, the owner of a structure shall maintain and keep the structure in the following state of repair and operating condition:

  • under the exercise of prudence
  • with due regard for life and property
  • the application of sound and accepted technical principles

Failure to adhere to these standards may subject the owner to a notice of violation under Indiana Code section 14-27-7.5-11.

General Guidelines for New Dams & Improvements to Existing Dams in Indiana

This document contains many of the dam safety technical principles used throughout the country. The project engineer in charge of the design of a dam must be a professional engineer registered in Indiana and have the training and experience to properly apply these guidelines to the specifics of the site and the needs of the owner. If the owner's project engineer follows these guidelines and an appropriate engineering design package is submitted to Indiana DNR's Division of Water, the time to obtain approval on the proposed work will be significantly reduced.

Indiana Dam Safety Inspection Manual

Inspections of Dams

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 at least once 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:
    1. An evaluation of the structure's condition, spillway capacity, operational adequacy, and structural integrity.
    2. 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.

More information

Resources for Hoosier Dam Owners

Other useful information

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


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