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New legislation aims to increase dam safety in Massachusetts

BOSTON 5/4/12 (PennWell) -- A new bill would help Massachusetts dam owners and operators defray some safety-related costs, if proposed legislation is approved by the state's House.

Sponsored by state Senator Marc. R. Pacheco, the bill would provide low-interest loans to help repair or remove unsafe dams.

According to information provided by the state's Office of Dam Safety, nearly two-thirds of dams in Massachusetts qualify as "high hazard."

"The bill is not going to straighten out everything, but it will put us on a steady path to sorting the problem out," Pacheco says.

The bill would also require all dams to be inventoried annually by the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation, while mandating all high-hazard dams have an emergency action plan. Fines for non-compliance with dam safety regulations would also be raised from US$500 to $5,000 per day.

"Dam safety deals with every community," Pacheco says. "Unsafe dams are a risk to lives near or around dams."

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