picture of a water dam

Signature Project: Pennsylvania DEP Regulated Dams

March 13, 2020
Perch Dam

JHA Companies was retained by numerous landowners of dams that are regulated by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). Dams that are regulated by PA DEP are given a rating based on the Size Category (A-C) and Hazard Potential Category (1-4). A Dam can be designated as “High-Hazard” or “Non-High Hazard”. If a dam is “located as to endanger populated areas downstream by its failure”, it is designated a High-Hazard dam. These dams have specific regulatory requirements that must be completed on a regular basis or the landowner will be in Violation of Title 25, Chapter 105 of the PA Code.

Ellyn Dam

Owners of Hazard Potential Category 1, 2 or 3 dams are required to have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) developed with an Inundation Map that is developed by a Professional Engineer registered in Pennsylvania. The EAP must be updated a minimum of every 5-years. The EAP must also be updated whenever there is a change to the owner of the dam, a change to the operator of the dam, a change in the Hazard Potential Category, or a change to the downstream inundation area. JHA uses state-of-the-art GIS mapping to produce accurate Inundation maps based on a detailed Dam Breach Analysis Computer simulation of the Dam and downstream drainage area.

Totem Dam

Owners of Hazard Potential Category 1 or 2 dams are required to have an annual Inspection Report completed by a Professional Engineer registered in Pennsylvania submitted to the Division of Dam Safety each year. This report must also be signed by the Dam Owner to certify that the EAP Posting requirements are being met. JHA has numerous Professional Engineers on staff with many years of dam inspection experience.

Glass Dam

In some cases, historic dams built prior to the current permitting process do not meet the current requirements for safe operation.  Whenever modifications to these dams are required, the owners will need to update the entire structure to meet the current regulations.  The Dam Permit process requires a significant Application that includes a complete Hydrologic and Hydraulic (H&H) Analysis, highly detailed Construction Plan Drawings, Environmental Assessments and Reviews, Erosion and Sediment Control Plans, Risk Assessments, Alternatives Analysis, Mitigation Plan, Operation & Maintenance Manual, Soil Borings and Analysis and possible flowage easements for potentially flooded properties.  JHA Companies can provide accurate surveys (including high-resolution drone imagery) as a base for construction plans. 

Ridgebury Dam

JHA Companies is experienced with all aspects of Dam Inspections, EAP Preparation and the Dam Permit Application process for most common types of dam construction.  If necessary, JHA Companies can coordinate with firms specializing in unique Dam Construction to successfully upgrade even the most complicated dams to meet current regulations.


Great job to Project Manager Tad Moser for his work on these dam projects!