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Living with Dams: Extreme Rainfall Events | 2015

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1. HIGH HAZARD

Dams where failure or misoperation

will probably cause loss of human life.

2. SIGNIFICANT HAZARD

Dams for which failure or

misoperation results in no probable

loss of human life but can cause

economic loss, environmental

damage, disruption of lifeline

facilities, or can impact other

concerns. Significant hazard

potential dams are often located in

predominantly rural or agricultural

areas but could be located in areas

with population and significant

infrastructure.

3. LOW HAZARD

Dams for which failure or

misoperation results in no probable

loss of human life and low economic

and/or environmental losses. Losses

are principally limited to the dam

owner’s property.

New development downstream of a dam in areas that would be impacted

by failure may increase the hazard classification and owner responsibility

due to the risk from a dam failure caused by extreme rainfall events.

(Hazard Creep)

POTENTIAL

POTENTIAL

POTENTIAL

Critical infrastructure, such as dams,

bridges or nuclear power plants

which pose a risk to human life

are designed for extreme events

because of the catastrophic

impacts of a failure of the structure.

Hazard Potential

The Federal Guidelines for

Dam Safety designate a Hazard

Potential Classification System for

dams. This classification system

identifies three qualitative hazard

potential classes of dams. Hazard

potential classification of a dam is

determined by the impact a failure

would have on the population and

development located downstream.

The size of the extreme rainfall

event in an appropriate design

typically increases as the

impacts of a failure increase.

The

hazard classification is not

related to the dam’s size or

condition.

These hazard potential

classifications are:

Even privately owned dams pose a public safety risk.

Dam failures do not respect property, community or state boundaries.

View how development near a dam can affect the dam's hazard

classification.

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