Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of Public Act 096-0388
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Public Act 096-0388




Public Act 096-0388
HB2251 Enrolled LRB096 06271 AJT 16354 b

    AN ACT concerning waterways.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 5. The Rivers, Lakes, and Streams Act is amended by
changing Section 23a as follows:
    (615 ILCS 5/23a)  (from Ch. 19, par. 70a)
    Sec. 23a. 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 deemed necessary.
    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
appropriate action.
    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
    The Department shall review and update its operations
manuals for the Algonquin Dam and the William G. Stratton Lock
and Dam on an annual basis.
(Source: P.A. 89-445, eff. 2-7-96.)

Effective Date: 1/1/2010