(615 ILCS 5/23a)
(from Ch. 19, par. 70a)
The Department is authorized to carry out inspections of any
dam within the State, and to establish standards and issue permits for the
safe construction of new dams and the reconstruction, repair, operation
and maintenance of all existing dams. If any inspection carried out
by the Department or by a federal agency in which the Department concurs
determines that a dam is in an unsafe condition, the Department shall
so notify the appropriate public officials of the affected city or county,
the State's Attorney of the county in which the dam is located, and the
Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
The Department may compel the installation of fishways in dams wherever
The Department may establish by rule minimum water levels for water behind
dams on streams and rivers as necessary to preserve the fish and other aquatic
life and to safeguard the health of the community.
Upon a determination of the Department that a dam constitutes a serious
threat to life or a threat of substantial property damage, the Department
may issue orders to require changes in the structure or its operation or
maintenance necessary for proper control of water levels at normal stages
and for the disposal of flood waters and for the protection of navigation
and any persons or property situated downstream from the dam or to otherwise
remove the threat provided, however, that no existing dam, based solely
upon the enactment by any governmental unit of any new rule, regulation,
ordinance, law, or other requirement passed after the construction of the
dam, shall be deemed to constitute a serious threat to life or a threat of
substantial property damage if it was designed and constructed under a
permit from the State of Illinois in conformance with all applicable
standards existing at the time of its construction and is in good repair.
The Department shall be required, prior to taking any action to compel
alteration or breaching of any dam, to furnish in writing to the owner of
the dam (1) a detailed and specific list of defects discovered in the course
of inspection of the dam, including the specific nature of any inadequacies
in the capacity of the spillway system and any indications of seepage, erosion,
or other evidence of structural deficiency in the dam or spillway; and (2)
a statement of the applicable standards that if complied with by the owner
of the dam would put the dam into compliance with the State's requirements.
No order shall be issued requiring alteration of any existing dam until after
notice and opportunity for hearing has been provided by the Department to the
dam owners. If the owner or owners of the dam are unknown, notice will be
provided by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in
which the structure is located. Any order issued under this Section shall
include a statement of the findings supporting the order.
Opportunity for hearing is not required in emergency situations when the
Department finds there is imminent hazard to personal public safety of people.
The Department may enforce the provisions of this Section and of rules
and orders issued hereunder by injunction or other
Neither the Department of Natural Resources nor
employees or agents of the Department shall be liable for damages sustained
through the partial or total failure of any dam or the operation or maintenance
of any dam by reason of the Department's regulation thereof. Nothing in this
Act shall relieve an owner or operator of a dam from the legal duties,
obligations, and liabilities arising from ownership or operation.
(Source: P.A. 96-388, eff. 1-1-10; 97-916, eff. 8-9-12.)