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Regulatory Handbook -> Water Resource Permits -> Dam Construction Permit

Dam Construction Permit

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
Dam construction permits ensure safety of life and property.
Who Issues this Permit?
Department of Ecology
What Activities Require this Permit?
A Dam Safety Construction Permit is required before constructing, modifying, or repairing any dam or controlling works for storage of 10 or more acre-feet of water, liquid waste, or mine tailings. This requirement may apply to dams and storage lagoons for: 
  • Flood control. 
  • Domestic or irrigation water. 
  • Domestic, industrial, or agricultural wastes (including animal waste). 
  • Mine tailings.
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
There is a $1,977 initial fee at the time of application, with the exception of dam removal. The dam removal fee is $10. Excluding the dam removal permit, the fees range from $1,977 to $98,532 depending on the size of the project. The fee is calculated based on height and crest length of the dam. The complete fee schedule is contained in WAC 173-175-360

The $1,977 initial fee counts toward the permit fee.
Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit?
The application which is called 'Application for Dam Construction Permit' is online and can be accessed at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/ecy07038.html.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
The applicant must submit plans and specifications to Ecology for review and approval. These must be prepared by a qualified professional engineer registered in Washington state and carry the engineer's signature and seal.  This must be done when the first substantive engineering information about the proposed project becomes available, usually when the conceptual plans are completed. Include the initial fee ($1,977) with the application form.
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
A number of other permits and approvals are often required at the local, state, and federal levels for the construction of a dam. Contact the Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance for more information (800) 917-0043 or help@oria.wa.gov.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
The targets are 30 days for Ecology to review engineering documents and the application; 30 days for the applicant to respond to request for more information; and 30 days for Ecology to do the final review.

If Ecology anticipates it will take more than 60 days we will notify the applicant. See WAC 173-175-270.
Where do I Submit my Application?
The application, fee, and supporting engineering documentation should be sent to: 
 
The Department of Ecology 
Cashiering Unit 
PO Box 47611 
Olympia WA 98504-7611
How Long is my Permit Valid?
Indefinite.
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
Any person with standing has a right to appeal this permit to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of the date of receipt of this permit. The appeal process is governed by Chapter 43.21B RCW and Chapter 371-08 WAC.  “Date of receipt” is defined in RCW 43.21B.001(2).
 
You must also comply with other applicable requirements in Chapter 43.21B RCW and Chapter 371-08 WAC.
 
Read the Pollution Control Board’s Appeal Process web page for more details.
Notes / Comments:
Subject Matter Expert Phone & Email: Contacts A number of other permits and approvals are often required at the local, state, and federal levels for the construction of a dam. Contact the Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance for more information at (800) 917-0043 or help@oria.wa.go.
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here: https://www.oria.wa.gov/ORIA-2018-PermitTimelinessProgressReport.pdf.

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 10
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 28

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 49
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 101

(Summary results based on 5 submittals in 2020)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Subject matter expert phone: Contacts vary by location, see notes/comments for link to contacts.
Statewide Contact:
Department of Ecology
Water Resources Program
Headquarters
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Fax: (360) 407-7162
Telephone: (360) 407-6872
Website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/wrhome.html
* Permit information last updated 2/4/2021
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