Federal funding available for New York's hazardous dams

Ellis Giacomelli, Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.
·1 min read

Apr. 8—ALBANY — A round of federal funding totaling $650,000 for pre-construction work on hazardous dams is now available for New York municipalities and nonprofits.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced the funding opportunity last week, and applications are being accepted for assistance with pre-construction work, including technical, planning and design activities, on dams classified as high-hazard. Funding is awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's High Hazard Potential Dam grant program and administered through the state's High Hazard Dam Rehabilitation program.

A high-hazard classification is reflective of "the potential for damage upon a dam's failure, not its likelihood of failure," according to the DEC. Identified as Class C dams, failed high-hazard dams would result in severe damage to the environment or community infrastructure — homes, highways, commercial buildings, railroads, water supplies, sewage treatment and power.

A total of 425 dams are classified as high-hazard in the state.

Among several other states to be pledged funding this year, New York received the maximum $650,000. Applications are due by June 11, with awards of up to $100,000 per project available. Proposed projects must be within counties that have an approved hazard mitigation plan.

"Ensuring dam safety is a top priority for DEC and we encourage eligible dam owners to take advantage of this important funding," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.

Last year, $564,925 was granted for pre-construction project applications in New York. In 2019, the state's award totaled $1.25 million.

For projects in construction phases, according to the DEC, a future round of federal funding specific to construction is anticipated.