Tennessee dams

January 27, 2022
Know before you go: Dam

The secure Dams system within the Division liquid Resources within the Tennessee division of Environment and Conservation is responsible for carrying-out certain requirements for the secure Dams Act of 1973.

A few of the tasks for the secure Dams Program consist of:

  • Maintaining a detailed inventory associated with the dams in your state.
  • Reviewing programs for new dam building.
  • Sporadically examining all managed dams within our condition.
  • Issuing permits to dam owners for procedure, alteration, and building of dams and calling for conformity with all the regulations.

Beneath the Tennessee secured Dams Act, a dam is understood to be any structure which at least 20 legs high or that may impound at least 30 acre-feet of liquid. Dams tend to be assigned hazard possible categories that reflect the threat your and residential property in the case of failing.

These groups are:

  1. Tall Hazard
  2. Significant Hazard
  3. Minimal Hazard

Safety inspections of dams are carried out by Secured Dams staff everybody, two, and 3 years, respectively, for these types of dams.

The duty of building and keeping a dam rests entirely because of the owner. As a dam owner, you will be responsible for the water kept behind your dam. A dam failure, resulting in an uncontrolled release of the reservoir, might have a devastating influence on individuals and home downstream. Also, a dam failure could indicate losing an important resource to you personally. Therefore, proper construction, operation, maintenance, restoration, and rehab of a dam are key elements in avoiding failing, limiting your responsibility, and maintaining your liquid resource.


The division issues three kinds of licenses with regards to safe dams:

  1. Operating
    • a running license is issued for a current dam after an evaluation associated with the dam is carried out showing the dam is in conformity using laws. The master must submit an application type and pay the $500 inspection charge (no fee is required if dam was built by a watershed region).
  2. Alteration
    • A modification permit is granted whenever a current dam must be repaired or modified. This license is given after Safe Dams staff reviews and approves plans and specifications submitted by an expert engineer certified when you look at the condition of Tennessee additionally the dam owner submits a credit card applicatoin kind. No charge is necessary for an alteration permit.
  3. Construction
    • a construction license is necessary for building of a new dam. This license is only released after secured Dams staff reviews and approves plans and specifications posted by a specialist engineer licensed inside condition of Tennessee. The dam owner also offers to pay for a plans review charge and submit an application type.

The plans review fee is dependent on the dam height as shown below.

  • Lower than 41 foot: $1000
  • 41 to 60 foot: $1500
  • Greater than 60 foot: $2000

Farm Ponds

Certain classes of dams are exempt from regulation in secure Dams Act. The key exemption is for "farm ponds". Farm ponds are defined into the laws as "...any impoundment made use of limited to providing liquid for farming and domestic purposes such as for instance livestock and poultry watering, irrigation of crops, entertainment, and preservation, when it comes to owner or occupant of farm, their household, and welcomed guests, but will not integrate any impoundment for which the water, or privileges or services and products of water, are available to the general public." A farm pond is exempt from secured Dams Act, but is almost certainly not exempt from other permitting needs eg ARAP, etc.

Various Other Permits

Construction or alteration of a dam might need licenses through the Natural Resources Unit of this Division of Water sources and an area 404 license through the United States Army Corps of Engineers and/or a Section 26-A license from Tennessee Valley Authority. Considering that the All-natural sources Unit of this division, the Corps or TVA may not enable a dam become built at a given web site, its highly advised that someone who wish to develop a new dam, look for assistance from those programs and get any needed permits from their store BEFORE following a Safe Dams building permit.

Aquatic Site Alteration

As previously mentioned above, the construction of dams on channels or creeks in Tennessee more often than not needs an Aquatic Resource Alteration allow from Division of liquid sources. Streams and creeks tend to be protected for utilizes such as for example irrigation, relaxation, fish and aquatic life, and livestock liquid and wildlife. ARAP licenses is almost certainly not given for alterations that would damage those uses unless there is certainly an over-riding social or financial advantage on local community.

The fundamental function of a dam, which is to impound movement, can somewhat influence downstream oceans. Dams on tiny streams (headwaters) interrupt the standard stream movement downstream. According to the size of the pond or lake relative to the watershed upstream of it, the impoundment will usually not remain filled and overflowing - especially during summertime.

Building a dam on a flow could break down not just liquid amount, but additionally water quality. Impounded waters come to be stagnant as they are a profoundly different environmental environment than a free-flowing flow. In general, many aquatic types that inhabit an all natural free-flowing flow cannot survive in an impoundment. Water high quality issues most frequently involving stagnated waters include elevated water conditions, reduced mixed oxygen, elevated metals (manganese and iron) from reduction and oxidation when you look at the bed of this reservoir, elevated vitamins such nitrogen and phosphorus. These bad liquid high quality impacts often persist for great distances downstream associated with the impoundment footprint.

The department’s investigations reveal that most headwater impoundments, as a result of disruption of movement and degradation of liquid high quality, damage uses of the channels within, and downstream associated with the dam. Where degradation to water high quality will happen, the regulations enable that in which a job candidate can show a substantial need, eg a public water-supply, or can demonstrate that it will only have insignificant effect may a permit be approved. It really is an applicant’s responsibility showing a social or financial advantage that could justify degradation to water quality and tv show that there is no substitute for attain the personal and financial advantage that does not break down water quality.


To obtain additional information about dams and liquid high quality problems, please contact the workplaces here.

Source: www.tn.gov
Share this Post