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Living with Dams: Extreme Rainfall Events | 2015

| 11

What is an acceptable

level of risk?

The public faces many risks on a

daily basis. How much risk they

are willing to accept seems to

vary greatly depending upon the


The public is fairly accepting of

high levels of risk when it is:

Consistent and shared

evenly by all,

Not caused by human actions or

negligence, and

Controllable, real or imagined –

such as everyday driving.

The public is less accepting of risk

when it is caused by human actions

or negligence such as:

An accident caused by a drunk

driver, or

An accident caused by poorly

cleared roads.

The public is even less accepting of

risk when preemptive action could

have been taken to avoid or reduce

the risk such as:

When damages resulting from

a dam failure could have been

prevented by proper operation

and maintenance or completion

of a rehabilitation project.

Clear Spring, Maryland – June 2014

An estimated 6-7 inches of rain fell in a 2 hour period. A state-owned

dam near Clear Spring experienced significant flow in its upgraded

emergency spillway so it operated properly and suffered no damage.

The emergency spillway had not seen any flow in it since Hurricane

Agnes in 1972. The Town of Clear Spring, located on an adjacent

stream, suffered extensive flood damage.