A. Notwithstanding subsection B, nothing in this article, and no order, notice, approval, or advice of the Director or Board shall relieve any owner or operator of an impounding structure from any legal duties, obligations, and liabilities resulting from such ownership or operation. The owner or operator shall be responsible for liability for damage to the property of others or injury to persons, including the loss of life resulting from the operation or failure of an impounding structure. Compliance with this article does not guarantee the safety of an impounding structure or relieve the owner or operator of liability in case of an impounding structure failure.
B. The owner of the land upon which an impounding structure owned, maintained, or operated by a soil and water conservation district is situated shall not be responsible for liability for damages to the property of others or injury to persons, including the loss of life, resulting from the operation or failure of the impounding structure. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply if the damages to the property of others or injury to persons is the result of an act or omission of the landowner unrelated to ownership, maintenance, or operation of the impounding structure.
C. Prior to dissolution or termination of an entity that owns an impounding structure, the entity shall either convey ownership to a third party by deed or other legal conveyance or decommission the impounding structure pursuant to the requirements of the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations. Prior to conveying ownership, the owner shall notify the Director of such transfer of ownership in accordance with requirements set out in the Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations. Such notice to the Director shall include a warrant by the transferring owner that the transferee is a responsible party capable of discharging all obligations of an impounding structure owner imposed by law and regulations.
D. The Commonwealth, the Board, or the Department shall not be deemed to become an owner of an impounding structure by providing funding or other assistance for maintenance, repair, or decommissioning of an impounding structure owned by another person or entity.
2006, c. 30; 2014, cc. 146, 304, 593.