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Dam Engineer

Emergency Action Plans Require Dam Engineer Expertise

Dams and levees are an important part of water resource management. They protect areas from flooding and store water that can be used for purposes such as irrigation. Texas has approximately 7,500 non-federally owned dams. Nearly 1,000 are classified “high-hazard,” approximately 750 are “significant hazard,” and the balance is deemed “low hazard.” Proper analysis and maintenance provided by a certified dam engineer is crucial to providing Texans with usable water resources and protection against flood damage and loss of life. 

Texas EAP Requirements

In 2009, the Texas Legislature enacted a law requiring owners of “high” and “significant hazard” dams to file an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). These plans were required by mandate to be completed by January 1, 2011.

What is an EAP?

At its simplest, an EAP is a plan of action for the owner of a dam or levee should it fail or be in imminent failure. Dam and levee ownership jurisdiction varies widely in Texas, so it is important for the state to help neighboring communities or municipalities coordinate requirements. 

The value of an EAP is clear and just like car or home insurance, it will hopefully never be needed. In the case of “high hazard” dams these plans save lives. 

OEI Dam Engineers Can Create Your EAP

Development of the EAP involves hydrologic modeling, hydraulic modeling, dam break analysis, inundation mapping, property identification, and an emergency contact chart. TCEQ regulations allow for the use of the “Simplified Dam Breach” method for small and intermediate sized dams which have limited downstream development. Most dams in Texas fall under this category. 

Our dam engineer team at OEI uses GIS specialty software to expedite hydraulic model preparation and inundation mapping. Other dam engineering services include:

  • Embankment stability
  • Seepage analysis
  • Document preparation
  • Construction management
  • And more

Through detailed analysis and modeling OEI creates maintenance and rehabilitation plans that result in safe and sustainable water infrastructure. Visit our water resources and environmental design page to learn more about how OEI can help your community with all its water infrastructure needs including the creation or updating of an EAP.