Safe Dams Act of 1972 (Tennessee)

From Open Energy Information

Last modified on February 12, 2015.

EZFeed Policy

Place Tennessee

Applies to States or Provinces Tennessee
Name Safe Dams Act of 1972 (Tennessee)
Policy Category Other Policy
Policy Type Environmental Regulations, Siting and Permitting
Affected Technologies Hydroelectric, Hydroelectric (Small)
Active Policy Yes
Implementing Sector State/Province

Program Administrator Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Primary Website
Applicable Jurisdiction Statewide

Last Review 2014-09-15


The Safe Dams Act of 1973 (SDA) gives the Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation the power to issue certificates authorizing the construction, alteration, or operation of a dam. A dam is defined as any artificial barrier, together with appurtenant works, which does or may impound or divert water, and which either (1) is or will be twenty (20) feet or more in height from the natural bed of the stream or watercourse at the downstream toe of the barrier, as determined by the Commissioner, or (2) has or will have an impounding capacity at maximum water storage elevation of thirty (30) acre-feet or more. Provided, however, that any such barrier which is or will be less than six (6) feet in height, regardless of storage capacity, or which has or will have a maximum storage capacity not in excess of fifteen (15) acre-feet, regardless of height, shall not be considered a dam, nor shall any barrier, regardless of size, be considered a dam, if, in the judgment of the Commissioner, such barrier creates an impoundment used only as a farm pond.

Certificates to construct, alter, and/or operate a dam are required for each activity. Certifications for construction and alteration are only valid for a single construction event or one year after issuance; operating and alteration certificates will not be valid for more than 5 years. New dams must following design standards outlined in the Act. Engineering requirements must also be met. Dams are categorized based on size (small, intermediate, large) and hazard potential (category 1, category 2, category 3).

Policy Contact

Contact Name Alan Schwendimann
Department Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Division Division of Water Resources
Address 6th Floor, L&C Tower, 401 Church St., Nashville, TN, 37243

Phone 615-532-0191


Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: Tenn. Code 69-11
Date Effective 2008-07-01

Authority 2: Rule of the Department of Environment and Conservation #1200-05-07