Dam Safety


All dams in Virginia are subject to the Dam Safety Act (Code of Virginia 10.1-604 et seq) and Dam Safety Regulations (4 VAC-50-20) unless specifically excluded.

The Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) partners with property owners to ensure emergency planning requirements are achieved.

Hazard Potential Classifications

There are three (3) hazard classifications that directly relate to the potential downstream impacts should the given dam fail.

  1. High - dams that upon failure would cause probable loss of life or serious economic damage
  2. Significant - dams that upon failure might cause loss of life or appreciable economic damage
  3. Low - dams that upon failure would lead to no expected loss of life or significant economic damage. Special criteria: This classification includes dams that upon failure would cause damage only to property of the dam owner.

Emergency Action Plans

Emergency Action Plans (EAP) are required for High and Significant hazard potential dams. An EAP shall be submitted every six years to the Office of Emergency Management. It is the structure owner's responsibility to develop, maintain, exercise and implement a site-specific plan according to Virginia Administrative Code 4VAC50-20-175.

There are seven basic elements that each EAP shall contain:

  1. Appendices
  2. Certification
  3. Dam Break Inundation Maps
  4. Emergency Detection, Evaluation, and Classification
  5. Notification chart
  6. Preparedness
  7. Responsibilities

Additional detailed information regarding the seven elements can be found in the Code of Virginia.

Additional Information

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation administers the Dam Safety Program. Additional information regarding this program can be found on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation website.

Staff Contact

Matt Schultz
Assistant Coordinator of Operations
Phone: 703-737-8200