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WHEREAS, National Dam Safety Awareness Day was established to memorialize the South Fork Dam failure in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, that occurred on May 31, 1889; and
WHEREAS, the South Fork Dam failure was the worst dam-related disaster in our nation’s history, and more than 2,200 lives were lost; and
WHEREAS, National Dam Safety Awareness Day is intended to highlight potential dangers of improperly constructed or maintained dams across the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is the state agency responsible for regulation of dams in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, there are more than 2,900 regulated dams in Virginia, the majority of which are privately owned; and
WHEREAS, in order to ensure the protection of life and property, owners of regulated dams are required by state law to properly construct, alter, and operate their dams; and
WHEREAS, dams in Virginia range from low-to-high hazard depending on their size, location, and downstream development; and
WHEREAS, by 2025, according to the Association of State Dam Safety officials, seven in 10 dams will be 50 years or older; and
WHEREAS, all owners, governmental officials, first responders, emergency management personnel, downstream residents, and citizens should be aware of the importance of dam safety and the need to properly maintain and operate dams;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 31, 2020, as DAM SAFETY AWARENESS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.