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FERC offers dam owners self-assessment tool

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is offering dam owners a new self-assessment tool to review the effectiveness of their dam safety programs.

FERC created the self-assessment tool in response to a 2006 peer review of its dam safety program that recommended the commission ensure that owners understand their responsibilities for dam safety.

FERC said dams without effective dam safety programs represent a higher risk than those with strong programs. It added that owners' dam safety programs are the most important factor in maintaining safe dams.

The new self-assessment tool is a set of questions to help an owner evaluate whether its dam safety program is adequate, in terms of organizational practices and technical requirements.

The questions are grouped into seven program areas: management policies and expectations; organization, duties, and responsibilities; program quality; internal and external communications and reports; authority of chief dam safety engineer; training; and surveillance and monitoring.

The tool and related information, including a description of what FERC wants to see in an owner's dam safety program, are on FERC's Internet site at www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/safety/initiatives/odsp.asp.

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