The downstream view of the dam at North Shore Lake

4 Tips to Keep You Safe When You're Near a Dam

When you’re planning a trip to your favorite lake, don't forget that a dam may be nearby. Here are a few safety tips:

  1. Be aware of where the dam and spillway, which is the channel that carries excess water from the dam, are located on the lake or river (each body of water is different, but the structures should be easy to spot);
  2. While storing water in a dam provides many benefits for the community, containing large amounts of water can be hazardous. Dams may fail during or after large rainstorms. Please pay attention to any emergency warnings in your neighborhood and for any areas located downstream of dams where flooding is more likely to occur;
  3. Keep a safe distance from all dam and spillway structures. You may get stuck in the current if you get too close to the top or bottom of the dam where water is released; and,
  4. In an emergency, call 911.

See how we lower water levels at a dam before a storm



Brad Cole, PE
Stormwater Asset Manager