“The Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, signed into law on September 20, 2014, requires all owners of high and intermediate hazard dams to submit Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the N.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS) no later than March 1, 2015.”
That is the first paragraph of a notice we received from DENR dated November 6, 2014. We know Emergency Action Plans are complex, require considerable time and expense to complete and at least part has to be sealed by a professional engineer. Four months is not much time considering the number of affected dams (roughly 2,000) in North Carolina. Most do not have existing EAPs. We immediately began gathering information about the law and about our clients’ dams who are affected.
What is an Emergency Action Plan?
An Emergency Action Plan is a good thing. It helps dam owners determine what would be damaged, who might be affected and which authorities need to be notified if a problem with a dam is occurring. Intermediate and high hazard dams are determined by the damage expected to occur during and after a catastrophic failure of the dam. Any dam, whose sudden failure would cause any loss of life, $30,000 or more in damage or interrupt service to 25 vehicles or more on any road, would be considered Intermediate or High Hazard and require an EAP.
A web based EAP Development tool has been developed. It is pretty complex. The template is 68 pages long. Users are required to register and create a “North Carolina Identification” (NCID) before gaining access to the tool. The new law requires dam owners to update their EAP annually and that can be done with this tool. An inundation map is required and must be sealed by a professional engineer.
We promise to stay informed and learn as much as we can about complying with the new law. Please contact us if we can be of service.