How to Decide if a Permit to Construct a Dam is Required
Not all dams require a permit. Those dams exempt from the permit requirements of the law are listed in Section 1521.06 of the Revised Code and include:
dams which are or will be less than ten feet in height and which have or will have a storage capacity of not more than fifty acre-feet at the elevation of the top of the dam, as determined by the Chief;
dams, regardless of height, which have or will have a storage capacity of not more than fifteen acre-feet at the elevation of the top of the dam, as determined by the Chief;
dams, regardless of storage capacity, which are or will be six or less feet in height, as determined by the Chief;
If the dam is not exempt, the owner is required to apply for a construction permit. The permit application is a two-part process. Step one is the submittal of the preliminary design report. Within thirty days of receipt of the preliminary design report, the applicant will be notified in writing of approval or disapproval of the report and the designated classification of the structure. Step two involves submittal of three copies of the final design report including the permit application, statutory filing fee, and surety bond. Without exception, construction of any proposed dam cannot begin until the applicant has received an exemption or a permit issued by the Chief of the Division of Water.
Preliminary Design Report Requirements
The preliminary design report must consist of the following:
1. A general description of the dam or levee, and all appurtenances thereto, and the proposed classification of the structure. The description shall include a statement of the purpose for which the dam or levee is to be used and a statement setting forth the impact of such dam or levee as it relates to endangering human life, health, or property.
2. Maps showing: the location of the proposed structure; the county, township, and section lines; the outline of the reservoir; the location of utilities. i.e., pipe, transmission, telegraph, and other telephone lines; the topography; and any other structure or facility affected by the proposed dam or levee. State, county, and U.S.G.S. maps, and aerial photographs may be used for these purposes.
3. A written report of the surficial conditions, i.e., geology, topography, and cultural features, which is based on a filed reconnaissance by the applicant's engineer.
4. Typical cross-sections of the dam or levee accurately showing proposed elevations, pool levels, and top width.
5. 5. Logs of borings and/or test pits in the foundation and in the borrow areas, and results of any seismic and resistivity subsurface investigations.
6. Preliminary design assumptions, tentative conclusions, and references. The design assumptions shall pertain to such hydrologic parameters as drainage area, rainfall and runoff data, inflow hydrographs, area-capacity-elevation data, and flood routings, in addition to geologic and geotechnical engineering assumptions.
7. A preliminary cost estimate for the structure and the appurtenances thereto.
8. Other pertinent information is may be required by the Chief.
Within thirty days from the date of receipt of the complete preliminary design report, the Chief shall respond in writing with either approval or disapproval, designating the approved classification of the proposed structure. Structures placed into Class IV do not require a permit.
Final Design Report Requirements
The final design report must include:
1. A report of the field and laboratory investigations of the foundation soils and/or the bedrocks, and the materials that will comprise the dam or levee. Stability and settlement analyses, and seepage and underseepage studies shall be required, unless the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Chief that these analyses are not necessary.
2. The bases, references, calculations, and conclusions relative to hydrologic, hydraulic, and structural design studies, and to the design of spillways and outlet works. Design procedures that have been established by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Department of Interior, Interior Bureau of Reclamation, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, The United States Natural Resources Conservation Service, and others that are generally accepted as sound engineering practice, will be acceptable to the Chief.
3. A map shall be included that shows the locations of borings, test pits, proposed borrow areas, known farm tiles, utility lines, and other areas pertinent to the design and construction of the structure.
4. A detailed cost estimate of the structure and appurtenances thereto.
5. Any other studies, investigations, and pertinent design information as may be required.
Before a permit can be issued for construction of a dam or levee, a surety bond must be submitted and accepted by the Chief. The bond amount shall meet or exceed one-half the estimated cost of construction including construction inspection of the dam or levee.
There are many "instruments' which may be used as surety for the purpose set forth in the law. Options include:
1. Surety Bond. Many bonding and insurance agencies sell surety or performance bonds. A surety bond is more or less an insurance policy which is paid up-front. The amount paid is a percentage of the total bonding amount and is not retrievable. Essentially, this is similar to purchasing a term insurance policy where premium(s) are paid. For example, if the applicant were purchasing a $50,000 surety bond, they might pay $2,500 (5%) for the bond. (This example may not accurately reflect premiums)
All bonds must be submitted in a prescribed form and shall run to the State of Ohio as obligee.
2. Certificate of Deposit (CD). The advantage to submitting a CD is that interest is accrued while the CD serves as a surety. This can be quite advantageous for larger bonding sums, especially when bonds are typically held for two years.
All CD's must be accompanied by an assignment form.
3. Cash or Check. Cash or check may deposited as surety. Typically, it is recommended that a check be issued over cash.
4. United States Government Securities. U.S. Treasury notes and bonds may be deposited as surety. In the case where the security has coupons attached for the purposes of paying accrued interest, the applicant may request that the coupon(s) be delivered to the applicant as the coupon(s) reach maturity.
The statutory filing fee is based upon the total estimated cost of construction including construction inspection. The fee schedule is as follows:
1. For the first one hundred thousand dollars,
a fee of four percent ( 4%).
2. For the next four hundred thousand dollars,
a fee of three percent ( 3%).
3. For the next five hundred thousand dollars,
a fee of two percent ( 2%).
4. For all costs in excess of one million dollars,
a fee of one-half of one percent ( .5%).
If the estimated cost were $50,000, the fee would be 4% of $50,000, or $2,000.
If the estimated cost were $125,000, the fee would be calculated as follows: