Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 1091

Public Act No. 07-61

AN ACT CONCERNING DAM SAFETY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 22a-402 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2007):

(a) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall investigate and inspect or cause to be investigated and inspected all dams or other structures which, in his or her judgment, would, by breaking away, cause loss of life or property damage. Said commissioner may require any person owning or having the care and control of any such structure to furnish him or her with such surveys, plans, descriptions, drawings and other data relating thereto and in such form and to such reasonable extent as he or she directs. Any person in possession of such pertinent information shall afford the owner and the commissioner access thereto. The commissioner shall make or cause to be made such periodic inspections of all such structures as may be necessary to reasonably insure that they are maintained in a safe condition. If, after any inspection described herein, the commissioner finds any such structure to be in an unsafe condition, he or she shall order the person owning or having control thereof to place it in a safe condition or to remove it and shall fix the time within which such order shall be carried out. The respondent to such an order shall not be required to obtain a permit under this chapter or chapter 440 or section 22a-342 or 22a-368 for any action necessary to comply with such order. If such order is not carried out within the time specified, the commissioner may carry out the actions required by the order provided the commissioner has determined that an emergency exists which presents a clear and present danger to the public safety and said commissioner shall assess the costs of such action against the person owning or having care and control of the structure. When the commissioner in his or her investigation finds that a dam or other structure should be inspected periodically in order to reduce a potential hazard to life and property, the owner of such structure shall cause such inspection to be made by a registered engineer at such intervals as are deemed necessary by the commissioner and shall submit a copy of the engineer's finding and report to the commissioner for his or her action. If the commissioner determines as a result of an inspection that maintenance or repairs to a dam are needed to maintain the dam in a safe condition, the commissioner shall notify the owner, in writing, of such maintenance or repairs as are necessary and request the owner to undertake such repairs within the time period specified in the notice. If the owner does not undertake the necessary maintenance or repairs within the time period indicated in the notice, the commissioner may proceed to order the owner to undertake the necessary maintenance or repairs. As used in this chapter, "person" shall have the same meaning as defined in subsection (c) of section 22a-2 and "water company" shall have the some meaning as defined in section 25-32a. The commissioner shall cause a certified copy of a final order issued under this section to be recorded on the land records in the town or towns wherein the dam or such structure is located.

(b) The chief executive official of a municipality or such official's designee may inspect a dam that is: (1) Under the jurisdiction of the commissioner, and (2) located within the boundaries of such municipality when such official or designee reasonably believes that a public safety concern exists. Inspection of any such dam owned or operated by a water company or of a dam that is a hydroelectric generating facility shall be controlled by the provisions of subsection (c) of this section. Such official or designee shall have the right to enter private property, within constitutional limits, to undertake such inspection provided such official or designee shall: (A) Notify the commissioner prior to conducting such inspection, (B) make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the dam prior to such inspection, and (C) file a report with the commissioner in accordance with the provisions of subsection (f) of this section.

(c) When the chief executive official of a municipality or such official's designee reasonably believes that a public safety concern exists with a dam that is a hydroelectric power generating facility or is owned or controlled by a water company, such official shall immediately notify the commissioner and shall notify the water company in accordance with subsection (e) of this section. Such official shall not inspect a dam that is a hydroelectric power generating facility or is owned or operated by a water company unless: (1) (A) Such official has reason to believe there is public safety concerning such a dam, (B) such official has notified the commissioner and has reasonably attempted to notify the water company or the owner of the hydroelectric power generating facility pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, and (C) a representative of the water company is not available; (2) a water company official or representative of the hydroelectric power generating facility accompanies such chief executive official or such official's designee; or (3) the water company has granted permission to such official. A report of the inspection shall be filed with the commissioner in accordance with the provisions of subsection (f) of this section.

(d) No provision of subsection (b) or (c) of this section shall restrict the right of a chief elected official or such official's designee to enter upon or inspect water company dams, appurtenances or land under the control or ownership of such municipality.

(e) When notifying a water company or owner of a hydroelectric power generating facility pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the chief executive official of a municipality or such official's designee shall call the contact number that such water company or facility identifies in any emergency operation plan for such dam on file with the municipality. In the event a water company or hydroelectric power generating facility has not prepared an emergency operation plan for a dam under the ownership or control of such water company or facility, such water company or facility may file an emergency notification contact form with such municipality. Not later than October 1, 2008, the commissioner shall develop such an emergency notification contact form. When such form is filed with the municipality such municipal official shall use the information provided in the form to contact the water company or hydroelectric power generating facility pursuant to this section.

(f) A report of any inspection performed pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) of this section shall be filed with the commissioner within seven days of such inspection, except when an immediate threat to public safety is discovered in which case such report shall be filed with the commissioner immediately.

(g) The provisions of subsections (b) to (f), inclusive, of this section shall not apply to a dam licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 22a-409 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2007):

(a) The commissioner shall cause a survey and maps to be made of each town showing the location of any dams or similar structures within such town, and shall file a copy of such map with the town clerk. On and after the effective date of this section, the owner of real property where a high hazard or significant hazard dam is located shall cause to be recorded on the land records in the municipality where the property is located a document that identifies the existence of the dam and whether the dam is categorized as a high hazard dam or a significant hazard dam. The commissioner shall publish a standardized form to be used for such purposes.

Sec. 3. Subsection (a) of section 22a-411 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2007):

(a) The commissioner may issue a general permit for any minor activity regulated under sections 22a-401 to 22a-410, inclusive, except for any activity covered by an individual permit, if the commissioner determines that such activity would cause minimal environmental effects when conducted separately and would cause only minimal cumulative environmental effects. Such activities may include routine maintenance and routine repair of any dam, dike, reservoir or other similar structure. [and the construction if any such structure presents low or negligible safety hazards. ] Any person conducting an activity for which a general permit has been issued shall not be required to obtain an individual permit under sections 22a-36 to 22a-45a, inclusive, or section 22a-342, 22a-368 or 22a-403, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section. A general permit shall clearly define the activity covered thereby and may include such conditions and requirements as the commissioner deems appropriate, including but not limited to, management practices and verification and reporting requirements. The general permit may require any person conducting any activity under the general permit to report, on a form prescribed by the commissioner, such activity to the commissioner before it shall be covered by the general permit. The commissioner shall prepare, and shall annually amend, a list of holders of general permits under this section, which list shall be made available to the public.

Approved May 30, 2007