"The older something gets, the more maintenance you need to keep it operating the way it was designed to operate," he said.
Farkas reassured committee members that no state dams are in danger of failing, however.
"Don't walk out of this meeting thinking I'm saying, 'The sky is falling,'<#148> Farkas said.
Currently, common problems include erosion and slips, deteriorating metals, plugged drains and encroachments on easements.
Farkas said his agency often has no idea where the easements are, where they begin or end. He said the agency is beginning research on those easements, traveling to county courthouses to find out "what we own and what we don't."
In some areas, homes and businesses have been built in easements. Farkas said the state might have to purchase those properties.
He said the Conservation Agency is already taking steps to fix issues with dams, including restructuring its offices so more employees are trained to inspect dams.
The agency's main dam office is in Romney, where workers can watch over the 72 dams in the Potomac River watershed area. But Farkas said it doesn't make any sense for inspectors from Romney to travel to Mercer County just to look at a dam.
He said the agency also has requested help from the Army Corps of Engineers to help prioritize repairs.Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-7939 or zack.har...@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ZackHarold.