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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 46: Dam inspection form; evaluation, examination and tests; costs and penalties

Section 46. The owner of any dam shall cause to be filed with the commissioner, on or before January 1, 2004, and periodically thereafter, as required by regulation, in accordance with the hazard potential classification of the dam, as noted in the certificate of the registration, on a form or forms prescribed by the commissioner, a dam inspection form, containing information relative to the present condition, safety and adequacy of the dam and such other information as the commissioner may require by regulation, signed by a registered professional civil engineer. Failure to file a dam inspection form by the time prescribed, according to the classification of the dam, shall subject the owner to fines prescribed by regulation, and an inspection by the commissioner who may enter the property of the owner to perform his own inspection. The cost of the inspection plus interest shall be assessed against the owner. If the commissioner determines the dam to be unsafe or abandoned after receiving the dam inspection form, after the commissioner's inspection, or at any other time, the commissioner may within a period of time fixed by regulation order the owner of the dam to: (1) take immediate corrective action, including the alteration, repair or removal of the dam or drawing down of the impounded water to abate a threat to safety and property; or (2) cause a thorough evaluation of the dam by a registered professional civil engineer, who shall recommend the course of action necessary to bring the dam into a safe condition or to safely remove the dam and establish a time schedule by which the work shall be accomplished. The evaluation shall include such tests as the commissioner may require. The commissioner shall record notice of such order in the registry of deeds in the county where the dam lies. The cost of such recording, plus interest from the date of recording, may be assessed against the owner. If the commissioner orders an evaluation, the owner shall meet with the representatives of the commissioner to establish the course of action and schedule for completion. Notice of such work and schedule for completion shall be provided to the owner and recorded by the commissioner in the registry of deeds in the county where the dam lies. The commissioner may inspect the work to the extent necessary to establish compliance with the order. When the work has been completed, the owner shall file plans and descriptions of the work with the commissioner as actually constructed, together with any other pertinent and required data. The commissioner may make examinations and tests as he deems necessary. The costs of the examinations and tests may be assessed against the owner plus interest from the date of the assessment. Proof of prior satisfactory inspection of a dam within the appropriate time period for that dam, as defined by the inspection schedule established under regulations promulgated by the commissioner, may be deemed sufficient for the purpose of filing the dam inspection form required by this section. In no case shall this provision allow a dam to exceed the maximum time period between inspections as established by regulation.