1. DAM SAFETY ANDENCROACHMENTS

DAM SAFETY AND
ENCROACHMENTS
ACT
OFFICE OF WATER MANAGEMENT
BUREAU OF WATERWAYS ENGINEERING AND WETLANDS

DAM SAFETY AND ENCROACHMENTS ACT
1978, Nov. 26, P.L. 1375, No. 325
This is not the official version and we are not responsible for any
errors in this publication. Any discrepancies between this version
and the official version will be resolved in favor of the official
version.
OFFICE OF WATER MANAGEMENT
BUREAU OF WATERWAYS ENGINEERING AND WETLANDS
DIVISION OF DAM SAFETY
P.O. BOX 8460
HARRISBURG, PA 17105-8460

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“DAM SAFETY AND ENCROACHMENTS ACT”
Act of Nov. 26, 1978, P.L. 1375, No. 325
AN ACT
Providing for the regulation and safety of dams and reservoirs, water
obstructions and encroachments; consolidating and clarifying the
programs of the Department of Environmental Resources and
Navigation Commission for the Delaware River; establishing
penalties and repealing certain acts. (Title amended Oct. 23, 1979,
P.L.204, No.70)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1.
Short title.
Section 2.
Purposes.
Section 3.
Definitions.
Section 4.
Scope.
Section 5.
Regulations and standards.
Section 6.
Permit requirement.
Section 7.
General permits and waiver of permit requirements.
Section 8.
Permit application.
Section 9.
Permit issuance and conditions.
Section 10.
Qualifications of persons responsible for design and
supervision of projects.
Section 11.
Proof of financial responsibility.
Section 12.
Projects affecting navigable waters of the Delaware
Basin.
Section 13.
Duties of owners.
Section 14.
Investigation and correction of unsafe conditions.
Section 15.
Projects affecting submerged lands of the
Commonwealth.
Section 16.
Investigations and searches.
Section 17.
Intergovernmental coordination and delegations to
local agencies.
Section 18.
Unlawful conduct.
Section 19.
Civil remedies.
Section 20.
Enforcement orders.
Section 21.
Civil penalties.
Section 22.
Criminal penalties.
Section 23.
Summary proceedings.
Section 24.
Administrative procedure and judicial review.
Section 25.
Preservation of existing rights and remedies.
Section 26.
Dams and Encroachments Fund.
Section 27.
Repealer and savings clause.
Section 28.
Effective date.

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The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1.
Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Dam Safety and
Encroachments Act.”
(1 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 2.
Purposes.
The purposes of this act are to:
(1) Provide for the regulation of dams and reservoirs, water
obstructions and encroachments in the Commonwealth, in order to
protect the health, safety and welfare of the people and property.
(2) Assure
proper
planning,
design,
construction,
maintenance, monitoring and supervision of dams and reservoirs,
including such preventative measures as are necessary to provide an
adequate margin of safety.
(3) Protect the natural resources, environmental rights and
values secured by the Pennsylvania Constitution and conserve the
water quality, natural regime and carrying capacity of watercourses.
(4) Assure
proper
planning,
design,
construction,
maintenance and monitoring of water obstructions and encroachments,
in order to prevent unreasonable interference with waterflow and to
protect navigation.
(2 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 3.
Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have,
unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to
them in this section:
Appurtenant works
.”
Include, but are not limited to, such
structures as spillways, either in the dam or separate therefrom; low
level outlet works; and conduits such as tunnels, pipelines or penstocks
through the dam or its abutments.
Body of water
.”
Any natural or artificial lake, pond, reservoir,
swamp, marsh or wetland.
Construct
.” To erect, build, place or deposit, including preliminary
preparation of a site for construction.
Dam
.” Any artificial barrier, together with its appurtenant works,
constructed for the purpose of impounding or storing water or any other
fluid or semifluid; or any refuse bank fill or structure for highway, railroad
or other purposes which does or may impound water or any other fluid
or semifluid.
Department
.” The Department of Environmental Protection of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Encroachment
.” Any structure or activity which in any manner
changes, expands or diminishes the course, current or cross-section of
any watercourse, floodway or body of water.

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Hearing board
.” The Environmental Hearing Board.
High hazard dam
.” Any dam so located as to endanger populated
areas downstream by its failure. (Def. added May 16, 1985, P.L.32,
No.15)
Navigation Commission
.”
The Navigation Commission for the
Delaware River or its navigable tributaries.
Operation
.” Elements of the use, control and functioning of a
facility which may affect primarily the storage, release or flow of water,
the structural safety of a facility or navigation, with due consideration of
the other purposes of this act.
Owner
.” Any person who owns, controls, operates, maintains, or
manages a dam or reservoir, water obstruction or encroachment.
Person
.” Includes any natural person, partnership, association,
corporation, municipality, municipal authority, receiver or trustee and
any department, board, commission or authority of the Commonwealth.
Whenever used in a section prescribing and imposing a penalty or
sanction, the term “person” shall include the members of an association
and the officers of a corporation, municipality or municipal authority.
Reservoir
.” Any basin which contains or will contain the water or
other fluid or semifluid impounded by a dam.
Safety
.” Security from the risk or threat of significant loss or injury
to life, health, property and the environment.
Water obstruction
.” Includes any dike, bridge, culvert, wall, wing
wall, fill, pier, wharf, embankment, abutment or other structure located
in, along, across or projecting into any watercourse, floodway or body of
water.
Watercourse
” or “
stream
.” Any channel of conveyance of surface
water having a defined bed and banks, whether natural or artificial, with
perennial or intermittent flow.
(3 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
The Department of Environmental Resources,
referred to in the def. of “department,” was abolished by Act 18
of 1995. Its functions were transferred to the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of
Environmental Protection.
Section 4.
Scope.
This act shall apply to:
(1) All dams on a natural or artificial watercourse, other than
those licensed pursuant to the Federal Power Act, where:
(i) the contributory drainage area exceeds 100 acres; or
(ii) the greatest depth of water at maximum storage
elevation exceeds 15 feet; or
(iii) the impounding capacity at maximum storage
elevation exceeds 50 acre-feet.
(2) All dams used for the storage of water not located on a
watercourse and which have no contributory drainage, where the

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greatest depth of water at maximum storage elevation exceeds 15 feet
and the impounding capacity at maximum storage elevation exceeds
50 acre-feet.
(3) All dams used for the storage of fluids or semifluids other
than water, the escape of which may result in air, water or land
pollution, or may result in danger to persons or property.
(4) All water obstructions and encroachments other than
dams, located in, along, across or projecting into any watercourse,
floodway or body of water, whether temporary or permanent.
(4 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 5.
Regulations and standards.
(a) The Environmental Quality Board shall have the power, and its
duty shall be, to adopt such regulations and standards for the design,
construction, operation, monitoring, maintenance, modification, repair
and removal of dams and reservoirs, water obstructions and
encroachments as are necessary and proper to carry out the purposes
of this act. The regulations shall include, but are not limited to, rules
establishing:
(1) Standards and criteria for the siting and design of dams,
water obstructions and encroachments considering both existing and
projected conditions which may affect the safety of a project during its
construction and operational life.
(2) Requirements for operation of dams including operational
plans to be prepared and implemented by owners.
(3) Requirements for monitoring, inspection and reporting of
conditions affecting the safety of dams, water obstructions and
encroachments.
(4) Requirements for emergency warning and action plans to
be prepared and implemented by owners, in cooperation with civil
authorities.
(5) Reasonable fees for the processing of applications and
periodic inspections, for the purpose of reimbursing the Commonwealth
for the costs of administration of this act.
(b) In promulgating regulations pursuant to this act applicable to
dams, and to water obstructions and encroachments which may present
a substantial potential risk to life or property, the Environmental Quality
Board shall consider:
(1) the inclusion of the best available preventative measures
necessary to assure protection of life, health, property and the
environment with an adequate margin of safety;
(2) water management and the impacts of development in
watersheds as a whole;
(3) the state of scientific and technological knowledge at the
time the regulations are adopted; and
(4) the immediate and long-range economic impact upon the
Commonwealth and its citizens.

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(c) In promulgating regulations pursuant to this act applicable to
water obstructions and encroachments which do not present substantial
potential risks to life or property, the Environmental Quality Board shall
consider:
(1) the state of scientific and technological knowledge and
good engineering practice relating to various types of water obstructions
and encroachments;
(2) the economic impact upon the Commonwealth and its
citizens;
(3) the relationship of water obstructions and encroachments
to hydrologic management in the watershed as a whole; and
(4) the impacts of water obstructions and encroachments
upon water quality and the environment.
(5 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and
renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the
Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the
Environmental Quality Board shall have the powers and duties
currently vested in it, except as vested in the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources by Act 18 of 1995, which
powers and duties include those set forth in Section 5.
Section 6.
Permit requirement.
(a) No person shall construct, operate, maintain, modify, enlarge
or abandon any dam, water obstruction or encroachment without the
prior written permit of the department.
(b) Any existing dam, water obstruction or encroachment
constructed pursuant to a license or permit issued in compliance with
the provisions of the act of June 8, 1907 (P.L.496, No.322), entitled “An
act to establish a Board of Commissioners of Navigation for the river
Delaware and its navigable tributaries; regulating their jurisdiction over
ships, vessels, and boats, and wharves, piers, bulkheads, docks, slips
and basins; and exempting cities of the first class from certain of its
provisions; and making an appropriation therefor,” or the act of June 25,
1913 (P.L.555, No.355), entitled “An act providing for the regulation of
dams, or other structures or obstructions, as defined herein, in, along,
across, or projecting into all streams and bodies of water wholly or partly
within, or forming part of the boundary of, this Commonwealth; vesting
certain powers and duties in the Water Supply Commission of
Pennsylvania, for this purpose; and providing penalties for the violation
of the provisions hereof,” shall be deemed to comply with the
construction and operating permit requirements of this section. All such
projects shall hereafter comply with the operating, maintenance,
monitoring and other requirements of this act.
(c) The owner of any existing dam, water obstruction or
encroachment who does not hold a permit issued pursuant to the act of

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June 8, 1907 (P.L.496, No.322), or the act of June 25, 1913 (P.L.555,
No.355) shall apply for and receive a permit pursuant to this act on or
before January 1, 1981. After the effective date of this act, all such
projects shall comply with the operating, maintenance, monitoring and
other requirements of this act.
(d) Any permit issued by the department after the effective date of
this act for the construction and operation of a water obstruction or
encroachment shall incorporate authorization for normal repairs and
maintenance of permitted structures conducted within the original
specifications for the water obstruction or encroachment. Any repairs or
maintenance involving modification of the water obstruction or
encroachment from its original specifications and any repairs or
reconstruction involving a substantial portion of the structure, shall
require the prior written permit of the department pursuant to
subsection (a).
(6 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 7.
General permits and waiver of permit requirements.
(a) The Environmental Quality Board may, by regulation, waive the
permit requirements for any category of dam, water obstruction or
encroachment which it determines has insignificant effect upon the
safety and protection of life, health, property and the environment.
(b) The department may, in accordance with rules adopted by the
Environmental Quality Board, issue general permits on a regional or
Statewide basis for any category of dam, water obstruction or
encroachment if the department determines that the projects in such
category are similar in nature, and can be adequately regulated utilizing
standardized specifications and conditions.
(c) General permits shall specify such design, operating and
monitoring conditions as are necessary to adequately protect life,
health, property and the environment, under which such projects may
be constructed and maintained without applying for and obtaining
individual permits. The department may require the registration of any
project constructed pursuant to a general permit.
(d) All general permits shall be published in the Pennsylvania
Bulletin at least 30 days prior to the effective date of the permit.
(7 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and
renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the
Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the
Environmental Quality Board shall have the powers and duties
currently vested in it, except as vested in the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources by Act 18 of 1995, which
powers and duties include those set forth in section 7.

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Section 8.
Permit application.
(a) Each permit application shall be accompanied by complete
maps, plans, specifications, test reports and such other information as
the department may require to determine compliance with the provisions
of this act.
(b) Each permit application shall be a matter of public record and
shall be available for inspection at the department's offices.
(c) The department may, at its discretion, hold a public hearing on
any application for the purposes of gathering information.
Section 9.
Permit issuance and conditions.
(a) The department shall have the power to grant a permit if it
determines that the proposed project complies with the provisions of this
act and the regulations adopted hereunder, and complies with all other
applicable laws administered by the department, the Pennsylvania Fish
Commission and any river basin commission created by interstate
compact.
(b) The department may impose such permit terms and conditions
regarding construction, operation, maintenance, inspection and
monitoring of the project as are necessary to assure compliance with
this act and other laws administered by the department, the
Pennsylvania Fish Commission and any river basin commission created
by interstate compact.
Compiler's Note:
The
name
of
the
Pennsylvania
Fish
Commission, referred to in this section, was changed to the
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission by Act 39 of 1991.
See 30 Pa.C.S. § 308 (relating to designation of commission).
Section 10. Qualifications of persons responsible for design and
supervision of projects.
The Environmental Quality Board may establish by regulation the
minimum professional, education and experience qualifications of
persons responsible for the preparation of plans, design analyses and
specifications and the supervision of construction, operation, inspection
and monitoring activities, in order to assure the proper design,
construction, operation, monitoring or maintenance of any category of
dam or, where necessary to protect public health and safety, of any
category of water obstruction or encroachment.
(10 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and
renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the
Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the
Environmental Quality Board shall have the powers and duties
currently vested in it, except as vested in the Department of

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Conservation and Natural Resources by Act 18 of 1995, which
powers and duties include those set forth in section 10.
Section 11.
Proof of financial responsibility.
(a) As a requirement for approval of a permit under this act for any
category of dam, water obstruction or encroachment which may present
a substantial potential risk to life or property, the Environmental Quality
Board may, by regulation, authorize the department to require proof of
financial responsibility or security assuring the proper construction,
operation, maintenance and termination of such projects.
(b) As proof of such responsibility or security, the regulations may
require one or more of the following:
(1) a Certificate of Public Convenience from the Public Utility
Commission if the owner of the proposed facility is subject to regulation
under the act of May 28, 1937 (P.L.1053, No.286), known as the “Public
Utility Law”;
(2) ownership or management of the facility by an agency of
the Federal, interstate, State, county or municipal government; or
(3) a bond or other legal device of a form acceptable to the
department, payable to the Commonwealth, which guarantees proper
construction, repair, operation and maintenance, inspections and
monitoring of the facility and removal, if necessary. The amount of such
shall be sufficient to cover all costs of entry, correction, repair,
operation, maintenance, inspection, monitoring or removal of the facility
by the Commonwealth in the event of failure of the owner to comply with
the provisions of this act, or any regulation, permit or order issued
hereunder.
(11 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and
renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the
Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the
Environmental Quality Board shall have the powers and duties
currently vested in it, except as vested in the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources by Act 18 of 1995, which
powers and duties include those set forth in section 11.
Section 12.
Projects affecting navigable waters of the Delaware
Basin.
(a) No individual or general permit for a dam, water obstruction or
encroachment in the commercially navigable waters of the Delaware
River or of its navigable tributaries shall be issued without notice to and
approval by the Navigation Commission. Any individual permit
application or general permit not acted upon by the Navigation
Commission within 60 days following notice to the commission, or within
60 days following receipt of any additional information required by the
commission, shall be deemed approved by the Navigation Commission.

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(b) A record of all permits issued for facilities in the commercially
navigable waters of the Delaware River or of its navigable tributaries
shall be filed with the Navigation Commission.
(c) The department and Navigation Commission shall cooperate
for the purpose of assuring safe navigation in the Delaware River and
eliminating any duplication of functions.
(12 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
Section 2 of Reorganization Plan No.1 of 1982
provided that the functions, powers and duties of the
Department of Commerce with regard to the Navigation
Commission for the Delaware River and its navigable
tributaries are transferred to the Department of State and
provided that the functions, powers and duties of the
commission with regard to the regulation, review and approval
of dams, water obstructions and encroachments are
transferred to the Department of Environmental Resources.
Section 13.
Duties of owners.
(a) The owner of any dam, water obstruction or encroachment
shall have the legal duty to:
(1) monitor, operate and maintain the facility in a safe
condition in accordance with the regulations, terms and conditions of
permits, approved operating plans and orders of the department issued
pursuant to this act;
(2) conduct periodic inspections and analyses, as reasonably
required by the department considering the type of facility and degree of
potential hazard, and as required submit certified reports regarding the
condition of the facility to the department: Provided, That in lieu of
certified reports from the owner, the department may accept reports of
equivalent inspections prepared by governmental agencies;
(3) immediately notify the department and responsible
authorities in downstream communities of any condition which threatens
the safety of the facility, and take all necessary actions to protect life
and property, including any action required under an emergency plan or
department order issued pursuant to this act; and
(4) prior to discontinuing use or abandonment, remove all or
part of the facility and take other actions necessary to protect safety and
the environment in a manner approved by the department.
(b) In addition to the duties of subsection (a), the owner of any
high hazard dam which has been classified as such by the Department
of Environmental Resources shall post notices in public places in any
area which might be affected by the failure of the dam.
(13 amended May 16, 1985, P.L.32, No.15)
Compiler's Note:
The Department of Environmental Resources,
referred to in subsec. (b), was abolished by Act 18 of 1995. Its
functions were transferred to the Department of Conservation

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and Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental
Protection.
Section 14.
Investigation and correction of unsafe conditions.
(a) Whenever the department finds there is reasonable cause to
suspect the existence of conditions adversely affecting the safety of a
dam, water obstruction or encroachment, the department may order the
owner to conduct such investigations, tests and analyses as may be
required to determine the continuing safety of the facility.
(b) If the department determines that any dam, water obstruction
or encroachment is unsafe or adversely affects property or the
environment or has not been properly constructed, operated, monitored
or maintained in compliance with this act, it may order the owner of the
facility to repair, alter, maintain or remove the facility or take such other
action necessary to carry out the purposes of this act, within such time
as prescribed in the order.
(c) If:
(1) the owner cannot be ascertained or found;
(2) the owner refuses or fails to comply with an order issued
pursuant to this section; or
(3) the condition of the facility is so dangerous as to require
immediate remedial action;
the department or its authorized agents may enter and conduct such
investigations, tests and analyses or take such corrective action as
required to carry out the purposes of this act. The department thereafter
may recover from the owner, in the name of the Commonwealth, the
expenses incurred in taking such action, in the same manner as debts
are recoverable by law.
(14 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 15.
Projects affecting submerged lands of the
Commonwealth.
(a) No permit shall be granted pursuant to this act for any project
to occupy submerged lands of the Commonwealth in any navigable lake
or river or stream declared a public highway, unless the applicant has
obtained an easement, right-of-way, license or lease pursuant to this
act, or holds an estate or interest in such submerged lands pursuant to
other specific authority from the General Assembly.
(b) The department may, with the approval of the Governor, grant
an easement, right-of-way, license or lease to occupy submerged lands
of the Commonwealth in any navigable lake or river or stream declared
a public highway, for any dam, water obstruction or encroachment
which is constructed for the purpose of:
(1) improving navigation or public transportation;
(2) recreation, fishing or other public trust purposes;
(3) protecting public safety or the environment;
(4) providing water supply, energy production or waste
treatment;

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(5) providing a public utility service by a government agency
or subdivision or public utility or electric cooperative; or
(6) other activities which require access to water.
Such easement, right-of-way, lease or license shall provide for the
payment to the Commonwealth of compensation for the use of its
property in such amount and shall be subject to such terms and
conditions as the department shall, with the approval of the Governor,
prescribe.
(c) The total area of land which any such project may occupy
under one or more easements, rights-of-way, licenses or leases granted
by the department pursuant to this section shall not exceed 25 acres.
(d) No easement, right-of-way, lease or license may be granted
under this section which may adversely affect navigation or significantly
impair the public's right in lands held in trust by the Commonwealth.
(e) No title, easement, right-of-way or other interest in submerged
lands or other real estate of the Commonwealth may be granted except
as expressly provided by this section or other specific authority from the
General Assembly.
(15 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 16.
Investigations and searches.
(a) The department is authorized to make such inspections,
conduct such tests or sampling, or examine books, papers and records
pertinent to any matter under investigation pursuant to this act as it
deems necessary to determine compliance with this act and for this
purpose, the duly authorized agents and employees of the department
are authorized at all reasonable times to enter and examine any
property, facility, operation or activity.
(b) The owner, operator or other person in charge of such
property, facility, operation or activity, upon presentation of proper
identification and purpose for inspection by the agents or employees of
the department, shall give such agents and employees free and
unrestricted entry and access, and upon refusal to grant such entry or
access, the agent or employee may obtain a search warrant or other
suitable order authorizing such entry and inspection. It shall be sufficient
probable cause to issue a search warrant authorizing such examination
and inspection if there is probable cause to believe that the object of the
investigation is subject to regulation under this act, and access,
examination or inspection is necessary to enforce the provisions of this
act.
(c) ((c) repealed Oct. 5, 1980, P.L.693, No.142)
Section 17.
Intergovernmental coordination and delegations
to local agencies.
(a) In accordance with regulations adopted by the Environmental
Quality Board, the department may by agreement delegate to a county
conservation district or other county agency one or more of its
regulatory functions to permit, inspect and monitor designated

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categories of dams, water obstructions and encroachments and to
enforce this act and regulations adopted hereunder relating to such
designated categories. Any county conservation district or other agency
acting pursuant to a delegation agreement shall have the same powers
and duties otherwise vested in the department to implement this act, to
the extent delegated by the agreement.
(b) The department shall monitor and supervise the activities of
each county conservation district or agency conducted pursuant to the
agreement.
(c) Any provision of the “Local Agency Law,” notwithstanding, any
person aggrieved by an action of a county conservation district or other
agency pursuant to a delegation agreement may appeal such action to
the department within 30 days following notice of such action. Any
action of the department pursuant to such an appeal may be appealed
to the Environmental Hearing Board in accordance with section 24.
(d) The department shall cooperate and coordinate with the United
States Army Corps of Engineers and other appropriate Federal and
interstate agencies for the purpose of assuring efficient regulation,
permitting
and
inspection
of
dams,
water
obstructions
and
encroachments. The department is authorized, with the approval of the
Attorney General, to enter into administrative agreements with
appropriate Federal and interstate agencies for the following purposes:
(1) to facilitate the submission and coordinated review of
permit applications;
(2) to avoid unnecessary duplication of staff functions and
hearings;
(3) to provide for coordinated inspection, monitoring and
enforcement of application laws and regulations; and
(4) to accept delegations of authority from Federal and
interstate agencies relating to the regulation of dams, water obstructions
and encroachments.
(17 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and
renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the
Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the
Environmental Quality Board shall have the powers and duties
currently vested in it, except as vested in the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources by Act 18 of 1995, which
powers and duties include those set forth in section 17.
Section 18
Unlawful conduct.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Violate or assist in the violation of any of the provisions of
this act or of any rules and regulations adopted hereunder.
(2) Fail to comply with any order by the department issued
hereunder from which no appeal has been taken, which has been

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sustained on appeal, or which has been appealed for which no
supersedeas has been granted for the period in which violation occurs.
(3) Construct, enlarge, repair, alter, remove, maintain, operate
or abandon any dam, water obstruction or encroachment contrary to the
terms and conditions of a general or individual permit or the rules and
regulations of the department.
(4) Attempt to obtain a permit by misrepresentation or failure
to disclose all relevant facts. Nothing in this act shall be construed to
affect the application of any provision of the Crimes Code relating to
perjury, false swearing or unsworn falsification to authorities.
(5) Intentionally obstruct, impair or pervert the administration
of this act by the department or any municipality by force, violence,
physical interference or obstacle, breach of official duty or any other
unlawful act. Nothing in this act shall be construed to affect the
application of section 5101 of the Crimes Code to obstructing
administration of law or other governmental function.
(18 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 19.
Civil remedies.
(a) Any activity or condition declared by this act to be unlawful
conduct shall be restrained or prevented in the manner provided by law
or equity for abatement of public nuisances, and the expense thereof
shall be recoverable from the violator in such manner as may now or
hereafter be provided by law.
(b) In addition, suits to restrain or prevent any unlawful conduct as
defined in this act or to compel action to discontinue any unlawful
conduct may be instituted in equity or at law in the name of the
Commonwealth upon relation of the Attorney General, or upon relation
of any district attorney of any county or upon relation of the solicitor of
any municipality affected after 30 days notice has first been served
upon the Attorney General of the intention of the district attorney or
solicitor to so proceed. Except in cases of emergency where, in the
opinion of the court, the exigencies of the cases require immediate
abatement of said unlawful conduct, the court may, in its decree, fix a
reasonable time during which the person responsible for the unlawful
conduct may make provision for the same. The expense of such
proceedings shall be recoverable from the violator in such manner as
may now or hereafter be provided by law. ((b) repealed in part Oct. 5,
1980, P.L.693, No.142)
(19 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 20.
Enforcement orders.
(a) The department may issue such orders as are necessary to aid
in the enforcement of the provisions of this act. Such orders shall
include, but shall not be limited to, orders modifying, suspending or
revoking permits and orders requiring persons to cease any activity
which is in violation of the provisions of this act. Such an order may be
issued if the department finds that a person is in violation of any

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provision of this act, or of any rule or regulation issued hereunder. The
department may, in its order, require compliance with such terms and
conditions as are necessary to effect the purposes of this act.
(b) An order issued under this section shall take effect upon
notice, unless the order specifies otherwise.
(c) Any person violating or failing to comply with any order of the
department from which no appeal has been taken or which has been
sustained on appeal, or which has been appealed but where no
supersedeas has been granted for the period in which the order has
been violated shall be deemed to be in contempt of such order. Upon
petition and certification of such order by the department or the hearing
board, the court shall, if it finds, after hearing or otherwise, that the
respondent is not in compliance with the order, adjudge the respondent
in contempt of the order and shall assess civil penalties of an amount
not less than $100 nor greater than $10,000 per violation plus $500 for
each continuing day of violation. Where the respondent has not as of
the date of hearing before the court complied with the order of the
department or board, the court shall specifically order the respondent to
immediately and fully comply with such order, and may issue any further
order as may be appropriate. ((c) repealed in part Oct. 5, 1980, P.L.693,
No.142)
(d) The right of the department to issue an order under this section
is in addition to any penalty which may be imposed or any action taken
pursuant to this act. The failure to comply with any such order is hereby
declared to be unlawful conduct and a nuisance.
Section 21.
Civil penalties.
(a) In addition to proceeding under any other remedy available at
law or equity for:
(1) a violation of a provision of this act or any rule or
regulation issued hereunder;
(2) a violation of any order of the department; or
(3) engaging in any unlawful conduct under the provisions of
this act;
the hearing board, in an action instituted before it by the department,
may assess a civil penalty upon any person for such violation or
unlawful conduct. Such a penalty may be assessed whether or not the
violation was willful. The civil penalty so assessed shall not exceed
$10,000, plus $500 for each day of continued violation. In determining
the amount of the civil penalty, the board shall consider the willfulness
of the violation, damage or injury to the stream regimen and
downstream areas of the Commonwealth, cost of restoration, the cost to
the Commonwealth of enforcing the provisions of the act against such
person, and other relevant factors. The assessment of the civil penalty
shall be made after hearing, unless hearing is specifically waived by the
respondent.
(b) Civil penalties shall be payable to the Commonwealth and shall
be collectible in any manner provided by law for the collection of debts.

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If any person liable to pay any such penalty neglects or refuses to pay
the same after demand, the amount, together with interest and any
costs that may accrue, shall be a lien in favor of the Commonwealth
upon the property, both real and personal, of such person but only after
the amount of the lien has been entered and docketed of record by the
prothonotary of the county where the property is situated. The board
may, at any time, transmit to the prothonotaries of the respective
counties certified copies of all such liens, and it shall be the duty of each
prothonotary to enter and docket the same of record in his office, and to
index the same as judgments are indexed. ((b) repealed in part Oct. 5,
1980, P.L.693, No.142)
(c) Any officer of any corporation, association, municipality or
county, who knowingly, willfully, recklessly or with gross negligence
engages in or authorizes unlawful conduct as defined in this act shall be
subject to the imposition of civil penalties in accordance with
subsection (a). Any civil penalty imposed upon such officer shall be in
addition to and separate from any civil penalty imposed upon the
corporation, association, municipality or county. Nothing in this
subsection shall be construed to affect the liability or duty of any officer
of a corporation, association, municipality or county for the purposes of
criminal penalties imposed under this act, or for the purposes of any
other rights or remedies now or hereafter existing or herein provided.
Section 22.
Criminal penalties.
(a) Any person who engages in unlawful conduct as defined in this
act is guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction, shall be
sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for
each separate offense, and, in default of the payment of such fine, to
imprisonment for a period of not more than 60 days.
(b) Any person who, within two years after a conviction in a
summary proceeding as provided in subsection (a) engages in unlawful
conduct as defined in this act is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third
degree and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not
less than $500 nor more than $5,000 for each separate offense or to
imprisonment for a period of not more than one year, or both.
(c) Each day of continued violation of any provision of this act or
any rule or regulation or order of the department issued pursuant to this
act shall constitute a separate offense under subsections (a) and (b).
Section 23.
Summary proceedings.
In the case of any appeal from any such conviction in the manner
provided by law for appeals from summary conviction, it shall be the
duty of the district attorney of the county to represent the interests of the
Commonwealth.
(23 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70 and repealed in part
Oct. 5, 1980, P.L.693, No.142)

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Section 24.
Administrative procedure and judicial review.
(a) Any person who shall be aggrieved by any action of the
department under this act shall have the right within 30 days of receipt
of notice of such action to appeal to the Environmental Hearing Board.
Any appeal of a general permit issued pursuant to section 7 shall be
filed within 30 days of the date of publication of the general permit in the
Pennsylvania Bulletin. Hearings under this subsection and any
subsequent appeal shall be in accordance with section 1921(a) of the
act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as “The Administrative
Code of 1929,” and the “Administrative Agency Law.”
(b) An appeal to the hearing board of any action of the department
shall not act as a supersedeas. A supersedeas may be granted by the
hearing board upon a showing by the petitioner:
(1) the irreparable harm to the petitioner or other interested
parties will result if the supersedeas is denied;
(2) that there is a likelihood of the petitioner's success on the
merits; and
(3) that the grant of a supersedeas will not result in
irreparable harm to the Commonwealth. The board may grant such a
supersedeas subject to such security as it may deem proper.
Section 25.
Preservation of existing rights and remedies.
The collection of any penalty under the provisions of this act shall
not be construed as estopping the Commonwealth, or any district
attorney or solicitor of a municipality, from proceeding in courts of law or
equity to abate conduct forbidden under this act, or abate nuisances
under existing law. It is hereby declared to be the purpose of this act to
provide additional and cumulative remedies to abate unsafe dams,
water obstructions or encroachments in this Commonwealth, and
nothing in this act contained shall in any way abridge or alter rights of
action or remedies now or hereafter existing in equity, or under the
common law or statutory law, criminal or civil, nor shall any provision in
this act, or the granting of any permit under this act, or any act done by
virtue of this act, be construed as estopping the Commonwealth,
persons or municipalities, in the exercise of their rights under the
common law or decisional law or in equity, from proceeding in courts of
law or equity to suppress nuisances, or to abate any unsafe dam now or
hereafter existing, or enforce common law or statutory rights.
(25 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 26.
Dams and Encroachments Fund.
All fines collected under the penal provisions of this act and all civil
penalties collected under this act shall be paid into the Treasury of the
Commonwealth in a special fund known as the Dams and
Encroachments Fund, which shall be administered by the department
for use in protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth from the hazards
to life, property, and the environment resulting from unsafe dams, water
obstructions and encroachments. Disbursements from the fund shall be

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in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the
Environmental Quality Board.
(26 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Compiler's Note:
Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and
renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the
Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the
Environmental Quality Board shall have the powers and duties
currently vested in it, except as vested in the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources by Act 18 of 1995, which
powers and duties include those set forth in section 26.
Section 27.
Repealer and savings clause.
(a) The following acts and parts of acts and supplements thereto
are hereby repealed absolutely:
The act of March 23, 1803 (P.L.389, No.140), entitled “An act to
authorize any person or persons owning lands adjoining navigable
streams of water, declared public highways, to erect dams upon such
streams, for mills and other water-works.”
Sections 7 and 8 of the act of June 8, 1907 (P.L.496, No.322),
entitled “An act to establish a Board of Commissioners of Navigation for
the river Delaware and its navigable tributaries; regulating their
jurisdiction over ships, vessels, and boats, and wharves, piers,
bulkheads, docks, slips, and basins; and exempting cities of the first
class from certain of its provisions; and making an appropriation
therefor.”
The act of June 25, 1913 (P.L.555, No.355), entitled “An act
providing for the regulation of dams, or other structures or obstructions,
as defined herein, in, along, across, or projecting into all streams and
bodies of water wholly or partly within, or forming part of the boundary
of, this Commonwealth; vesting certain powers and duties in the Water
Supply Commission of Pennsylvania, for this purpose; and providing
penalties for the violation of the provisions hereof.”
(b) All other acts or parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby
repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.
(c) The provisions of this act shall not effect any suit, prosecution,
or order instituted to enforce any right or abate any violation of any act
or part thereof repealed by this act.
(27 amended Oct. 23, 1979, P.L.204, No.70)
Section 28.
Effective date.
This act shall take effect July 1, 1979.

For more information, visit
www.dep.pa.gov
.
Keyword: “Dam Safety”
3100-BK-DEP2247 Rev. 12/2015

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