Flood Protection and Dam Safety (Virginia)

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Last modified on February 12, 2015.

EZFeed Policy

Place Virginia

Applies to States or Provinces Virginia
Name Flood Protection and Dam Safety (Virginia)
Policy Category Other Policy
Policy Type Environmental Regulations, Safety and Operational Guidelines, Siting and Permitting
Affected Technologies Hydroelectric, Hydroelectric (Small)
Active Policy Yes

Implementing Sector State/Province

Program Administrator Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Primary Website http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dam_safety_and_floodplains/index.shtml

Last Review 2014-09-15


All dams in Virginia are subject to the Dam Safety Act and Dam Safety Regulations unless specifically excluded. A dam is excluded if it: (a) is less than six feet high; (b) has a maximum capacity less than 50 acre-feet and is less than 25 feet in height; (c) has a maximum capacity of less than 15 acre-feet and is more than 25 feet in height; (d) is used primarily for agricultural purposes and has a maximum capacity of less than 100 acre-feet or is less than 25 feet in height (if the use or ownership changes, the dam may be subject to regulation); (e) is owned or licensed by the federal government; (f) is operated for mining purposes under 45.1-222 or 45.1-225.1 of the Code of Virginia; or (g) is an obstruction in a canal used to raise or lower water levels. Dams are classified with a hazard potential depending upon the downstream losses anticipated in event of failure. The owner of each regulated high, significant, or low hazard dam is required to apply to the board for an Operation and Maintenance Certificate. After a dam is certified by the board, annual inspections are required either by a professional engineer or the dam owner, and the Annual Inspection Report is submitted to the regional dam safety engineer.

Floodplain Management Program staff works with localities to establish and enforce floodplain management zoning. Floodplain zoning regulates how development is allowed within floodplains. The program's main goal is to protect people and their property from unwise floodplain development. Localities use the program's state model ordinances, in which minimum standards for local regulations are set, to write their own. Local governments can set more restrictive standards to ensure higher levels of protection for residents in flood hazard areas. Also, the state has used the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code to set construction standards for structures built in Federal Emergency Management Agency designated flood hazard areas.

Policy Contact

Contact Name Ken Turner, P.E.
Department Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division Dam Safety and Floodplain Management
Address 203 Governor Street, Suite 210

Place Richmond, Virginia
Zip/Postal Code 23219-2094
Phone 804-371-6132
Phone 2 (804) 371-6095

Email dam@dcr.virginia.gov; Ken.Turner@dcr.virginia.gov
Website http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dam_safety_and_floodplains/dsfpmcontx.shtml#fpmstaff
Department Virginia State Corporation Commission
Division Division of Energy Regulation
Address Tyler Building
Address 2 1300 E. Main St.
Place Richmond, Virginia
Zip/Postal Code 23219


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

Authority 1: Va. Code 10.1-600 et seq.