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Why Erie Canal Embankments are being cleared - US Dam Safety Laws Report


Doug K:
Just like the Subject Line states... there is a Law in place that requires New York Power Authority to comply with National Dam Standards as a PUBLIC power generation agency. And that law also states that all US Dams are to be cataloged, comply to known dam standards, and be inspected regularly to insure public safety. So part of this whole Erie Canal Embankment Program is about uncovering the dams for these very reasons

Many if not all Erie Canal Embankment Dams have missed on all counts of cataloging, compliance and proper inspection for years...but that is all changing as we see playing out in the Rochester & surrounding areas west to Lockport.

There was a law passed in 2006 called the National Dam Safety Program Act... Public Law 109-460... here's the Govt Page on it:

This Dam Safety Law is the basis for the Erie Canal Embankment Dam work you see going on's about compliance with the safety initiatives of this law. The New York Canal Corporation is obligated, through New York Power Authority, to insure all of it's Flood Prevention Structures along the Erie Canal are managed in the manner expected by this Public Law... they do not have the option of "non-compliance" that some may think.

In 2014 the NY State Comptroller notified the NYS Thruway Authority, that the Erie Canal was not in compliance and needed repair... and today we see the results of that 2014 Study & Report.

If fixing the Erie Canal Embankments is not about safety to some folks in Rochester, then it eventually will come down to following the Law. There is NO choice here.. you either agree it's the right thing to do for safety, or it's the right thing to do BECAUSE it's the LAW.

Here's a copy of the original 2006 Dam Safety Act Law with approved Amendments from 2006 & 2014. Page 3 & 4 talk about what are the minimum requirements for a structure to be called a Dam... take a look.

But the best documents to understand the way the ENTIRE Dam Safety Program works in America are here to download and read:

We recommend reading the Overview Report from 2008 - 2011 which has a website link where you can view the PDF file. This is the first NDSA Report after the Dam Safety Law was passed, it has a very nice summary of how National Dam Safety all plays together with other Federal laws and guidelines.

I have put a copy of the 2008-11 US Dam Safety Report for download on the ECNA Google Share Folder:

If you want to read another Summary about National Dam Safety Program, here's another from 2015 that is a good read as well for a summary of the Dam Safety issues in our country.

Are you a "citizen scientist"...  lol. Want to find out more about Dam safety?

This is the place to start. Use the drop down menus to refine your search -->

ECNA Moderator

Doug K:
But sadly some will say this: There is no Safety Issue and the "law" is wrong, it doesn't work for the Erie Canal... we need a special new law.

Somehow these earthen embankment dams (along the magic waters of the Erie Canal) are special dams. They don't age, trees don't pipe water out, and if a tree limb breaks, it magically misses anyone walking along the top of the dam. Animals cannot burrow into these dams, and tree blow downs can't happen, and this dam doesn't leak either, those are all natural bodies of water sitting below them.

Even the dam owners who said their embankments were unsafe are wrong to these people... so I appreciate your comment but some people get confused about the truth, especially when it comes to Trees... and Dams.


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