Conditions that may lead to a dam incident or failure, including the uncontrolled release of water from a pond, lake or reservoir can be determined based on observations of the following conditions:
- Unsafe high water level or rapid loss of water in the pond or lake
- Water overtopping (flowing over) the dam embankment
- Formation of a vortex (whirlpool) in the pond or lake
- Cracks in the dam or sliding of dam embankment material
- Discharge of muddy water from the dam embankment
- Obstructions in the spillway
- Damage or failure of gates, valves or other dam components
- Destructive vandalism
If any of these conditions are observed, the following steps should be taken immediately:
- Make sure you are in a safe location before observing the situation and report an appropriate response to the incident.
- Call 9-1-1 and report your location, the observations that indicate a potential dam failure, and a method to contact you if the call is ended.
- Report the incident to the MDE Dam Safety Division at 410-537-3538 (9am to 5pm) or call the 24-hour notification hotline at 1-866-MDEGOTO (1-866-633-4686).
- If you are the owner of a High or Significant Hazard Potential Dam, immediately activate your Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and take appropriate measures to notify emergency responders and, if possible, take actions to reduce the chance of dam failure.
For more information, you may call us at (410) 537-3538 or reach us at our mailing address:
Dam Safety Program
Water and Science Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Ste. 440
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708