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Dam safety fees

Our dam safety work is supported by fees. By law, we must collect the following:

  • Construction permit fees for examining plans and specifications for dams before they are built or modified.
  • Periodic inspection fees for inspecting existing dams with a "high hazard" or "significant hazard" rating.

Other actions by our staff may lead to costs for dam owners:

  • We enforce dam safety requirements. We may also impose sanctions through regulatory orders or civil penalties.
  • We take necessary actions when an emergency condition poses an imminent threat to life. In these cases, all costs incurred by us are charged to the dam's owner.

Construction fees

Any person intending to construct or modify any dam must submit plans, specifications, and a construction inspection plan for review and approval. Construction permit fees are required for examining plans and specifications. Fees are charged on a per project basis.

New construction

For new construction, fees are based on the height of the dam and the length of the top of the dam (crest length). 

The procedure for paying construction permit fees requires dam owners to include an initial payment with their construction permit application. The minimum initial payment is $1,977. The remaining balance is billed after our review is complete.

Modifications to existing dams

Modification fees are a percentage of the new dam construction fees, based on the features to be modified and whether those modifications do or do not significantly enlarge the storage capacity of the impoundment (the “significant enlargement factor”).

  • To determine your dam modification construction fees, use the new dam construction fees table and multiply by the enlargement factor in the dam modification fees table below.
  • Please note that the minimum fee for a construction permit to modify an existing dam is equal to the minimum initial payment of $1,977.
Dam modification fees with or without enlargement *

Modification fee as a percentage of the fee for new dam construction
features modified
Modifications with
significant enlargements*
Modifications without
significant enlargements*
Spillway(s) 35 percent 25 percent
Impounding barrier 35 percent 25 percent
Appurtenant works and miscellaneous construction elements 10 percent 10 percent
* Significant enlargement is any modification of an existing dam that increases the dam height or normal pool height more than 5.0 feet, and which also represents a 10 percent or greater increase in dam height or normal pool height over that which existed prior to the modification.

Fee adjustments for repairs, removals and reclamation

The exceptions to the normal construction inspection fees are:
  • For dam safety deficiency repairs required by us, fees are equal to the minimum initial payment of $1,977.
  • For removal of a dam with safety deficiencies, fees are $10.
  • For reclamation of mining operation dams, fees are equal to the minimum initial payment of $1,977.
  • There is no fee for routine maintenance, normal replacement, or minor repairs.
  • No fees are required for review of conceptual plans, changes required during review, or construction change orders.

Periodic inspection fees

We conduct periodic inspections of existing dams that are located in areas where dam failure and release of the reservoir contents could result in the loss of life. The inspections are intended to identify deficiencies, reasonably assure safe operations, and confirm that maintenance is being adequately performed. Periodic inspection fees apply.

Basis for inspection fees

Inspections are done every five years for "high hazard" and "significant hazard" dams. Prorated periodic inspection fees are collected annually in advance of each five-year inspection. To determine your fee for this year, refer to periodic inspection fees table (below). We bill the prorated annual periodic inspection fee based on the hazard level of the dam:

  • Significant hazard - one to two homes (or equivalent population) at risk downstream in event of dam failure.
  • High hazard - three or more homes (or equivalent population) at risk downstream in event of dam failure.
Periodic Inspection Fees
Significant hazard dams       High hazard dams         
$881 $1208
 

Exceptions

The exceptions to the normal periodic inspection fees are:

  • For dams less than 10 years old, no fees are charged.
  • For "high hazard" dams more than 10 but less than 20 years old, fees equal the fee for "significant hazard" dams.
  • For impoundments with multiple dams, a single facility fee is charged, based on the dam with the highest hazard.
  • For multi-cell impoundments, such as multi-cell wastewater lagoons, a single facility fee is charged, based on the highest hazard cell.
  • For non-routine and public request inspections, no fees are charged.

How to pay your fees

The dam owner of record is responsible for paying all fees.

Fee balances are due within 45 days after we mail your invoice. We consider your fees as delinquent if we do not receive them by the due date. If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we consider the invoice unpaid.

  • Periodic inspection fees are billed annually.
  • Construction fees are a single amount billed for a specific project. Construction permit fee payment procedures allow dam owners to make an initial payment of $1,977 for construction of a new dam or modification of an existing dam or project. We will then bill the unpaid balance.

We may issue an enforcement order to dam owners with delinquent accounts or refer the account for collection.

Paid fees are not refundable.