Emergency Action Planning



About EAPs

About EAPs

Indiana Dams Earn D- Grade

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2010 Indiana Infrastructure Report Card. Dams received a D- grade. The ASCE report noted that the grade reflects Indiana's lack of sufficient resources, funding, or staff to conduct dam safety inspections, take appropriate enforcement actions, or ensure proper construction by reviewing plans and performing construction inspections. Further, the Report Card noted that Indiana is below the national average for EAPs on HHP dams, and Indiana has no regulations in place that require a dam owner to have an EAP. "Having an EAP for a dam is not just a benefit to the dam owner, but is very helpful for the state and local emergency managers. EAPs allow for the emergency personnel to understand the hazard, respond to evacuations, and properly apply their resources in dealing with a dam safety emergency," ASCE said.

Indiana Report Card

PDF Report Card

In the 2010 Report Card, only 43 percent of Indiana's dams were considered fair or better in condition, with 57 percent of Indiana's dams considered conditionally poor or worse. At an estimated average repair cost of $750,000 per dam, the total current cost for upgrading the deficient dams with significant- and high-hazard potentials is approximately $180 million.

Through inspection programs, dam safety in Indiana has improved, although inspection programs by themselves do not guarantee that a dam will not fail. Typical causes of dam failure are internal erosion or seepage, slope stability failure, and overtopping from a flood event. Another critical component involves communicating risks of dam failures to the public. A particularly useful and necessary tool is the development and active implementation of EAPs for dams. It is especially critical for high hazard dams, although it is suggested for all dams. During recent floods in Indiana, most notably in June of 2008, damage occurred to numerous dams, including several dam failures. Many of the dams that failed or were damaged had been identified during inspections as deficient.

Despite growing hazards, deteriorating dam conditions and an increasing number of dams, funding for the dam program has declined in recent years. A significant investment is needed to improve dams and the Dam Safety Program in Indiana. Funds are needed to hire and train professional inspectors, rehabilitate critical dams, improve the communication and notification systems, and update inspection methods and equipment.

The ASCE has noted that owners of private dams often have difficulty funding dam repairs, resulting in dams being breached and drained. Some form of assistance from the government would be helpful in maintaining the resources within the state, rather than destroying the dam. Government assistance could come in the form of low-interest loans, with an estimated cost of $1 million. Additional efforts will be needed in the near future to assist in analyzing and upgrading the state's dams, many of which were constructed more than 40 years ago. Dams typically have a design life of about 50 years.

Read the Report Card on dams here.