Safe Dams Program FAQ (EAP)

  • What is an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?

    An Emergency Action Plan or EAP is a formal plan that identifies potential emergency conditions at a dam and outlines procedures to follow to minimize damage and potential loss of life. Having an effective EAP is critical to reducing the risk of property damage and loss of life from a dam failure. A dam failure can be a personal as well as a legal calamity to a dam owner as the damage may impact homes, businesses, schools, or other institutions. (See What should be included in an EAP?)

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  • Why am I required to submit an EAP to the Safe Dams Program?

    The requirements regarding EAPs are located in the Rules of the Department of Natural Resources, Chapter 391-3-8-.11. Having an effective EAP is critical to reducing the risk of property damage and loss of life from a dam failure. A dam failure can be a personal as well as a legal calamity to a dam owner as the damage may impact homes, businesses, schools, or other institutions. (See What should be included in an EAP?)

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  • When do I have to submit the EAP?

    According to the Rules of the Department of Natural Resources, Chapter 391-3-8-.11, all owners of Category I dams which were classified on or after October 1, 2016, must submit an EAP to the Safe Dams Program as part of an Application for Construction and Operation Permit. Owners of dams that were classified before October 1, 2016, must submit an EAP to the Safe Dams Program by July 1, 2017. EAPs can be mailed to the Safe Dams Program at 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.E., Suite 1362, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

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  • How do I know if I need to submit an EAP? When must this plan be submitted?

    According to the Rules of the Department of Natural Resources, Chapter 391-3-8-.11, all owners of Category I dams which were classified on or after October 1, 2016, must submit an EAP to the Safe Dams Program as part of an Application for Construction and Operation Permit. Owners of dams that were classified before October 1, 2016, must submit an EAP to the Safe Dams Program by July 1, 2017. EAPs can be mailed to the Safe Dams Program at 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.E., Suite 1362, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. If you have questions regarding submitting your EAP, you can contact the program at (404) 463-2461.

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  • If I have already submitted an EAP, do I need to submit a new one?

    Unless otherwise stated in your permit, a new or updated EAP is not required if you have previously submitted an EAP to the Safe Dams Program. However, having an up-to-date EAP is critical to reducing the risk of property damage and loss of life from a dam failure. The Safe Dams Program suggests at least an annual update of your EAP. Typically, only the contact information for the Emergency Management Agency or property owners must be updated. When you update the EAP, you should provide the latest version to the Safe Dams Program and all others who have a copy. It is recommended that you maintain a revision log for each copy of the EAP.

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  • If I own a Category II or Exempt dam, am I required to submit an EAP?

    Category I dam owners are required to submit EAPs. While Category II or Exempt dams are not required under the Georgia Safe Dams Act or Rules for Dam Safety to submit EAPs, having an EAP is critical to reducing the risk of property damage and loss of life from any dam failure regardless of the dam’s classification. Having an effective EAP may also reduce an owner’s liability in the event there is an incident or failure at their dam. If a Category II or Exempt dam is reclassified Category I, an EAP will then be required as part of the Application for Dam Construction and Operation.

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  • Are multiple EAPs required if there are multiple owners of the dam?

    One EAP per dam must be submitted to the Safe Dams Program by the appropriate deadline. All owners should work together to develop the EAP. If an EAP is not submitted to the Safe Dams Program by the appropriate deadline, all owners will be held responsible. (See How do I know if I need to submit an EAP? When must this plan be submitted? )

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  • If I own multiple dams, can I submit just one EAP for all of them?

    In most instances, an EAP should be tailored to one individual dam; however, there are some cases in which you may be allowed to submit one EAP for multiple dams. For example, if you own multiple dams which are located sequentially on a river or stream, you may be given permission by the Safe Dams Program to submit one EAP for the aforementioned dams. You must send a request to the Safe Dams Program in writing. The Safe Dams Program will either accept or deny your request in writing. Whether your request is accepted or denied, you must submit the required EAP(s) to the Safe Dams Program by the appropriate deadline. (See How do I know if I need to submit an EAP? When must this plan be submitted? )

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  • What should be included in an EAP?

    The Safe Dams Program’s guidance concerning EAPs can be found in the Download this pdf file. Engineer Guidelines in Section 9. The Safe Dams Program’s EAP Download this doc file. template and Download this pdf file. instructions provide the approved format and requirements. Standard formats for EAPs are located in the FEMA Publication No. P-64 and on the Natural Resources Conservation Service website. An EAP usually includes a physical description of the dam, inundation maps, incident detection and evaluation methods, a plan for emergency level determination, an emergency notification flowchart, and a series of individually assigned responsibilities. The emergency notification flowchart usually includes contacting the county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) followed by a call to the Safe Dams Program (SDP). You should refer to the Engineer Guidelines for additional guidance regarding EAPs.

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  • Do I have to hire an engineer to develop my EAP?

    While an engineer with experience in inundation mapping must be hired to develop the inundation maps for the EAP, the remainder of the EAP can be developed by anyone. However, as the owner, you are responsible for submitting the complete EAP to the Safe Dams Program by the appropriate deadline. You may find an engineer with inundation mapping experience on the Engineer of Record list. This list is located at the bottom of our webpage at http://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch. (See How do I know if I need to submit an EAP? When must this plan be submitted? ) (See What is an Engineer of Record?)

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  • Can I hire someone to develop an EAP for me?

    Yes, someone can be hired to develop an EAP for the dam owner; however, the owner or operator is responsible for submitting the complete EAP to the Safe Dams Program by the appropriate deadline. (See How do I know if I need to submit an EAP? When must this plan be submitted? ) (See Do I have to hire an Engineer to develop my EAP?)

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  • What are inundation maps? Why is this part of an EAP?

    An inundation map shows the areas that would be affected by flooding should the dam fail. The inundation map aids in determining who should be contacted and possibly evacuated if the dam should exhibit imminent failure signs. An engineer with inundation modeling experience should develop the inundation map. You may find an engineer with inundation mapping experience on the Engineer of Record list. This list is located at the bottom of our webpage at http://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch.

    The engineer must use their engineering judgment to set parameters such as failure scenario and termination point. (See What is an Engineer of Record?)

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  • Are there any resources available for developing an EAP?

    The Safe Dams Program has developed a template with instructions that you may use to aid in developing your EAP. The template and instructions are located at the bottom of our webpage at http://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch. Standard formats for EAPs are located in the FEMA Publication No. P-64 and on the Natural Resources Conservation Service website. For specific information on your area or assistance with inundation mapping, you should contact your local Emergency Management Agency (EMA). You can locate your county EMA by following the link http://www.gema.georgia.gov and searching for your county emergency manager at the link on the webpage. The Safe Dams Program maintains a list of engineers who specialize in dams. You may find an engineer with inundation mapping experience on the Engineer of Record list. This list is located at the bottom of our webpage at http://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch . The program confers the Engineer of Record designation, but does not endorse any particular engineer. (See What is an Engineer of Record?) (See Can I hire someone to develop an EAP for me? )

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  • What is an Engineer of Record?

    As defined by the Rules for Dam Safety, an Engineer of Record (EOR) is a licensed engineer registered in the State of Georgia who has at least 7 years of demonstrated experience related to the investigation, design and/or construction of dams. The Engineer of Record designation is conferred by the Safe Dams Program after an engineer has substantiated his/her qualifications by application prior to his/her engagement by an owner/operator of a Category I dam. While the Engineer of Record designation indicates demonstrated experience related to dams, it is not an endorsement by the State of any particular engineer. During Category I dam construction or modification, an Engineer of Record must be retained to design and oversee construction. General duties of the Engineer of Record are listed in the Download this pdf file. Engineer Guidelines . The Engineer of Record list is located at the bottom of our webpage at http://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch.

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  • When I update my EAP, do I need to send a copy to the Safe Dams Program?

    Yes, you should provide a copy of the updated EAP to the Safe Dams Program. You should also provide the latest version of the plan to all others who have copies of your EAP. It is recommended that you update the EAP annually. Typically, only the contact information for the Emergency Management Agency or property owners must be updated.

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  • Can I use the existing dam break model done by the Safe Dams Program for classifying the dam?

    No. The dam break models developed for classification often stop at the first identified hazard and therefore may not include the entire breach zone impacted. You must perform the inundation modeling according to the requirements provided by the Safe Dams Program. (See What are inundation maps? Why is this part of an EAP?)

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  • Do I need to coordinate with anyone else when developing the EAP?

    To ensure an effective EAP, you should coordinate with your county Emergency Management Agency (EMA). You can locate your county EMA by following the link http://www.gema.georgia.gov and searching for your county under “Contact Local EMAs”. Your EMA may be able to provide advice on emergency procedures and, in some instances, may be able to provide assistance with inundation mapping. Providing the completed EAP to your EMA will also help them respond to an emergency at your dam. The engineer that you hire to develop the inundation maps should coordinate with the local EMA to develop evacuation plans. The engineer must use their engineering judgment to set parameters such as failure scenario and termination point.

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  • Is an inundation map required in every EAP?

    In a limited number of cases, inundation maps may not be necessary. You may send a written request to the Safe Dams Program. In your request, you must justify why inundation mapping is not necessary. The Safe Dams Program will either accept or deny your request in writing. Whether your request is accepted or denied, you must submit the required EAP(s) to the Safe Dams Program by the appropriate deadline. (See What should be included in an EAP?)

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  • What failure scenario should be used?

    We recommend the inundation mapping be performed per the Engineer Guidelines. At a minimum, the failure scenario should be a sunny-day failure at top of dam; however, your engineer should use their engineering judgment to select the appropriate failure scenario(s). Note that your county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) may require or suggest a more conservative failure scenario. (See Do I need to do more than one failure scenario?)

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  • Do I need to do more than one failure scenario?

    We recommend the inundation mapping be performed per the Engineer Guidelines. At a minimum, the failure scenario should be a sunny-day failure at top of dam; however, it is recommended that other failure scenarios such as Storm in Progress be used to prepare you and your Emergency Management Agency (EMA) for alternative or more conservative failure emergencies. Additionally, the county EMA may require a more conservative scenario based on the location of the dam. The engineer performing the inundation mapping should discuss this with you and the EMA.

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