Dam Safety

Dams of all sizes and complexities will deteriorate over time and require maintenance and occasional repairs to remain within government safety guidelines.  Dam owners are fully liable for any mishaps that may occur as a result of dam neglect, including flooding of any life and property downstream of the dam structure.  To stay within these guidelines, it is imperative that dam owners seek the expertise of a qualified Professional Engineer to guide them through the proper channels of recommended dam maintenance and rehabilitation in adherence to government standards.

Dams are classified based on their size and potential downstream hazards, should they fail.  Most dams, such as those on small stormwater ponds, are considered low hazard and have minimal regulatory requirements.  Dams that pose a risk to property or lives in the event of a failure are subject to stringent requirements and knowledgeable consultants.  Detailed breach analysis determining hazards and emergency action plans monitoring conditions and facilitating the notification of impacted parties are just a couple of safety aspects that SMC specializes in.  Dam owners can utilize our on-the-ground experience to identify unclear problem areas and develop preventive maintenance plans to aid in budgeting for the wellbeing of the dam over its lifespan.

SMC professionals have 30 years of overall dam safety experience and are experts at performing safety inspections in accordance with government rules and regulations.  Because we also perform construction, SMC is uniquely qualified to develop action plans to maintain and repair dam structures in a cost effective manner.  Our team routinely works with Dam Safety Staff at the Maryland Department of the Environment and maintains a respected working relationship with the regulatory community.

Click here for more information on the responsibilities of dam ownership.

Click here if you would like to request SMC’s services, or to speak with someone to find out more detailed information on the services we provide.


  • Maintenance & Condition Assessments  – Inspect embankments for sloughing, soft spots, animal burrows, etc and detect issues early before they lead to more costly repairs.
  • CCTV Inspections  – Perform a confined space entry or CCTV inspection to inspect outlet control structure for deterioration which could lead to piping failure.  Early detection of deterioration allows the structure to be a candidate for relining instead of a more costly complete outfall barrel replacement.
  • Underwater Inspections & Diving Services – Perform an in-depth inspection of the underwater components by certified divers to document deficiencies which are hidden from normal annual dam safety inspections.
  • Emergency Action Plans – Create and/or update the Emergency Action Plan and perform table top exercises for staff and emergency action personnel to react to a potential dam breach.
  • Repair Design, Permits, & Construction – Perform Dam repairs and maintenance recommended from the annual dam safety inspection to maintain a safe dam; and provide engineering services to obtain MDE and local permits for Dam Repairs.
  • Regulatory Agency Representation – Meet with regulatory agencies and provide alternate solutions to regulatory suggested repairs.