Thumbs up: Carroll County is doing a checkup on the 74-foot-tall earthen dam at Piney Run Reservoir. Safety comes first, so we support the work. The checkup, expected to be a two-year-long study, aims to assess any possible deficiencies in Piney Run Dam, which was built in 1974. The Maryland Department of the Environment noted concerns about the dam possibly not meeting current criteria, and this dam is the only one the county owns that is classified as “high hazard” by MDE. Piney Run Dam is one of 93 dams statewide that MDE has designated high hazard, though experts tell us that doesn’t necessarily mean there are immediate risks. We agree with the philosophy of erring on the side of caution and making sure that the dam doesn’t go unwatched for too long, and that philosophy appears to be in place here. After all, the stakes could be high; Md. 32 and the Warfield Complex are downstream from the dam, which sits in the populated southern area of the county. If it were to break, well, we prefer not to think about that. Now, we’ll be clear — there is no indication there’s any risk of South Carroll taking on the look of a disaster movie set any time soon. Of course, the thing about the weather is it’s unpredictable by nature. But the amount of rain that would be needed to cause this dam to breach is simply immense, according to Chris Heyn, county watershed restoration engineer. The dam’s emergency spillway is designed to hold 27 inches of rain over a period of six hours, and the closest Carroll County has come to that, he said, was in 1975, when Hurricane Eloise dumped a little more than 14 inches of rain over a few days. For reference, the 2016 flood that ravaged historic Ellicott City was caused by 6.5 inches of rain, and the storm that again devastated the town just two years later brought over 7 inches of rain. We don’t see reason to freak out about South Carroll getting washed away, but we’re glad that state and county are being proactive in its observation of this critical piece of infrastructure.