Laurel Hills Road in Raleigh after the dam rehabilitation at Laurel Hills Lake.

Laurel Hills Road after the dam rehabilitation at Laurel Hills Lake. 

Dam Classifications

Learn about high- and low-hazard dams

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Dam Classifications Studying Conditions Tips to Stay Safe Near a Dam

Dam classifications are based on the level of damage that a dam could cause if it fails / too much water flows downstream when it rains. Classifications are not based on how much of a risk there is of failure. 

Dam Classifications

High-hazard Dam
  • A dam that causes severe damage and/or loss of life if it fails.
  • This type of dam can still be considered high hazard after repairs are made to it. 
  • We oversee 19 high-hazard dams.
Low-hazard DamA dam that causes low environmental and financial impacts and no loss of life if it fails. 

Studying Conditions

We study dam conditions and determine which structures need to be repaired, replaced, or improved. The overall goal is to make sure dams are safe, operating correctly, and help minimize flooding hazards. Leading up to heavy rainfall, lake water from Lake Johnson is lowered to reduce flooding and keep people safe. See a list of City-owned dams.

We identify and prioritize dam repairs and improvements when stormwater issues cause flooding to public streets and impact public safety.

Do you have dam on your property? Learn how to maintain it.

Tips to Stay Safe Near a Dam

Staying Safe Near a Dam

Follow these easy tips to stay safe when you are near a dam spillway and structure.



Ben Lingley
Stormwater Controls Measures & Dams Asset Manager

Engineering Services
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Stormwater System