STATE—A new act passed last year kicked off a financial assurance program to help meet proof of financial responsibility under Section 11 of the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act and to help fund maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and other costs associated with private dam ownership.

Now in open enrollment, the Private Dam Financial Assurance Program, operated through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), is open to private individuals, partnerships, associations, common interest communities, community associations and corporation who own, control, operate, maintain or manage a private dam.

Eligible parties looking to enroll must demonstrate compliance with the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act regulations, pay a one-time fee of $1,000 per dam, and agree to an annual fee equal to one percent of the Proof of Financial Responsibility amount required by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

According to a release from Representative Rosemary Brown (R-189th, Monroe/Pike), new DEP regulations require private dam owners to have a “financial responsibility tool” in place to fund a breach project should it be deemed necessary.

The release states, “Although this protects the state, it is not possible for many private dam owners to obtain these extremely costly bonds based on the makeup of their organizations, which often include homeowners' associations (HOAs).

“And oftentimes, financial institutions do not consider these organizations to be stable enough to receive bond coverage.”

Once the program's accompanying project fund has reached $1.5 million in accumulated capital, program members in good standing can apply for low-interest, ten-year loans of up to $500,000.

Applicants must provide matching funds of at least 50 percent of the total project cost.

According to DCED's website, program funds can be used for maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, reclamation, permanent breach, demolition, excavation and engineering of dams.

Enrollment applications for the Private Dam Financial Assurance Program can be found online at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us.

Questions about the program can be directed to DCED's Center for Business Financing, available by phone (717-787-6245) or email (ra-dcedsitedvpt@pa.gov).

Program guidelines are available online at www.dced.pa.gov.

—Information from a release was used in this story.