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Top Subjects of Interest: Dam Safety

How dams are classified by their potential for hazard, how they may be exempt from safety requirements, and links to more details about dam safety.

Hazard Classification

The executive director classifies dams as low, significant or high hazard. This classification is based on either potential loss of human life or property damage, in the event of failure or malfunction of the dam or its structures. Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Section 292.12 Exit the TCEQ.

Dam Exemption

A dam is exempt from safety requirements as of Sept. 1, 2013, if it has a maximum impoundment capacity of less than 500 ac-ft. and is:

  • classified as low or significant hazard;
  • on private property;
  • in a county with a population of less than 350,000 (as per 2010 census); and
  • not within the corporate limits of a municipality.

Owners of exempt dams still have to comply with maintenance and operation requirements. There is no exemption expiration date.

Texas Map based on county population criteria Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

Dam Safety Program

The Dam Safety program monitors and regulates private and public dams in Texas. The program periodically inspects dams that pose a high or significant hazard and makes recommendations and reports to dam owners to help them maintain safe facilities.

See the program’s webpage for links to regulations, manuals on dam safety, forms, and dam safety workshops for dam owners.