Idaho Statutes
pecnv.out

TITLE 42
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE — WATER RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
CHAPTER 17
DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES — WATER RESOURCE BOARD
42-1717.  Jurisdiction over supervision of maintenance, operation and inspection of dams and mine tailings impoundment structures. Supervision over the maintenance and operation of dams, reservoirs and mine tailings impoundment structures insofar as necessary to safeguard life and property from injury by reason of the failure thereof is vested in the director of the department of water resources. The director shall at state expense inspect or cause to be inspected, as often as he thinks advisable, every dam used for holding water and mine tailings impoundment structure used for holding tailings slurry in this state; however, all dams or mine tailings impoundment structures regulated by the department shall be inspected at least once every five (5) years, and if after any such inspection such dam or mine tailings impoundment structure, in the opinion of the director, is unsafe, and life or property liable to be endangered by reason thereof, the director shall give written notice and order by certified mail or by personal service upon the owner or owners to remove or repair the same so as to make it safe. If such owner or owners shall neglect or refuse to remove or repair the same after notice to that effect has been given in writing by the director, the director may draw off all or part of such water from behind such dam, embankment or mine tailings slurry from behind mine tailings impoundment structure and keep said water or mine tailings slurry drawn off until such time as the orders shall be complied with. In determining whether or not a dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure or proposed dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure constitutes or would constitute a danger to life or property, the director shall take into consideration the possibility that the dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure might be endangered by overtopping, seepage, settlement, erosion, cracking, earth movement or other conditions which exist or might occur in any area in the vicinity of the dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure.
No action shall be brought against the state, the water resource board, the director, or the department of water resources or their respective agents or employees for the recovery of damages caused by the partial or total failure of any dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure or through the operation of any dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure upon the ground that such defendant is liable by virtue of any of the following:
(a)  The approval of the dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure.
(b)  The issuance or enforcement of orders relative to maintenance or operation of the dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure.
(c)  Control and regulation of the dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure.
(d)  Measures taken to protect against failure during an emergency.
(e)  The use of design and construction criteria prepared by the department.
(f)  The failure to issue or enforce orders, to control or regulate dams, or to take measures to protect against dam failure.
No action shall be brought by the state against the owner for pollution which may occur in the event that the director orders emergency dumping or bypassing.
Nothing in this part shall be construed to relieve an owner or operator of a dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure of the legal duties, obligations or liabilities incident to the ownership or operation of the dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure.
The findings and orders of the director and the certificate of approval of any dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure issued by the director are final and conclusive and binding upon all state agencies, regulatory or otherwise, as to the safety of design, construction, maintenance and operation of any dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure.
The director may require owners to keep records of, and to report on, maintenance, operation, staffing and engineering and geologic investigations, and the water resource board shall issue such rules as necessary to secure maintenance and operation and to require staffing and engineering and geologic investigations which will safeguard life and property. In addition, the owner of a dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure or his agent shall fully and promptly advise the department of any sudden or unprecedented flood or unusual or alarming circumstance or occurrence affecting the safety of the dam, reservoir or mine tailings impoundment structure. The director, from time to time, shall make inspections of dams, reservoirs and mine tailings impoundment structures at state expense for the purpose of determining their safety, but shall require owners to perform at their expense such work as necessary to disclose information sufficient to enable the director to determine conditions of dams, reservoirs, and mine tailings impoundment structures in regard to their safety and to perform at their expense other work necessary to secure maintenance and operation which will safeguard life and property.

History:
[42-1717, added 1969, ch. 280, sec. 8, p. 833; am. 1974, ch. 20, sec. 18, p. 533; am. 1978, ch. 309, sec. 8, p. 791; am. 1987, ch. 225, sec. 1, p. 477; am. 2004, ch. 168, sec. 1, p. 546.]


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