Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 50. Virginia Soil And Water Conservation Board
Chapter 20. Impounding Structure Regulations

4VAC50-20-30. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Acre-foot" means a unit of volume equal to 43,560 cubic feet or 325,853 gallons (equivalent to one foot of depth over one acre of area).

"Agricultural purpose" means the production of an agricultural commodity as defined in § 3.2-3900 of the Code of Virginia that requires the use of impounded waters.

"Agricultural purpose dams" means impounding structures which are less than 25 feet in height or which create a maximum impoundment smaller than 100 acre-feet, and operated primarily for agricultural purposes.

"Alteration" means changes to an impounding structure that could alter or affect its structural integrity. Alterations include, but are not limited to, changing the height or otherwise enlarging the dam, increasing normal pool or principal spillway elevation or physical dimensions, changing the elevation or physical dimensions of the emergency spillway, conducting necessary structural repairs or structural maintenance, or removing the impounding structure. Structural maintenance does not include routine maintenance.

"Alteration permit" means a permit required for any alteration to an impounding structure.

"Annual average daily traffic" or "AADT" means the total volume of vehicle traffic of a highway or road for a year divided by 365 days and is a measure used in transportation planning and transportation engineering of how busy a road is.

"Board" means the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.

"Conditional Operation and Maintenance Certificate" means a certificate required for impounding structures with deficiencies.

"Construction" means the construction of a new impounding structure.

"Construction permit" means a permit required for the construction of a new impounding structure.

"Dam break inundation zone" means the area downstream of a dam that would be inundated or otherwise directly affected by the failure of a dam.

"Department" means the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"Design flood" means the calculated volume of runoff and the resulting peak discharge utilized in the evaluation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the impounding structure.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation or his designee.

"Drill" means a type of emergency action plan exercise that tests, develops, or maintains skills in an emergency response procedure. During a drill, participants perform an in-house exercise to verify telephone numbers and other means of communication along with the owner's response. A drill is considered a necessary part of ongoing training.

"Emergency Action Plan or EAP" means a formal document that recognizes potential impounding structure emergency conditions and specifies preplanned actions to be followed to minimize loss of life and property damage. The EAP specifies actions the owner must take to minimize or alleviate emergency conditions at the impounding structure. It contains procedures and information to assist the owner in issuing early warning and notification messages to responsible emergency management authorities. It shall also contain dam break inundation zone maps as required to show emergency management authorities the critical areas for action in case of emergency.

"Emergency Action Plan Exercise" means an activity designed to promote emergency preparedness; test or evaluate EAPs, procedures, or facilities; train personnel in emergency management duties; and demonstrate operational capability. In response to a simulated event, exercises should consist of the performance of duties, tasks, or operations very similar to the way they would be performed in a real emergency. An exercise may include but not be limited to drills and tabletop exercises.

"Emergency Preparedness Plan" means a formal document prepared for Low Hazard impounding structures that provides maps and procedures for notifying owners of downstream property that may be impacted by an emergency situation at an impounding structure.

"Existing impounding structure" means any impounding structure in existence or under a construction permit prior to July 1, 2010.

"Freeboard" means the vertical distance between the maximum water surface elevation associated with the spillway design flood and the top of the impounding structure.

"Height" means the hydraulic height of an impounding structure. If the impounding structure spans a stream or watercourse, height means the vertical distance from the natural bed of the stream or watercourse measured at the downstream toe of the impounding structure to the top of the impounding structure. If the impounding structure does not span a stream or watercourse, height means the vertical distance from the lowest elevation of the downstream limit of the barrier to the top of the impounding structure.

"Impounding structure" or "dam" means a man-made structure, whether a dam across a watercourse or structure outside a watercourse, used or to be used to retain or store waters or other materials. The term includes: (i) all dams that are 25 feet or greater in height and that create an impoundment capacity of 15 acre-feet or greater, and (ii) all dams that are six feet or greater in height and that create an impoundment capacity of 50 acre-feet or greater. The term "impounding structure" shall not include: (a) dams licensed by the State Corporation Commission that are subject to a safety inspection program; (b) dams owned or licensed by the United States government; (c) dams operated primarily for agricultural purposes which are less than 25 feet in height or which create a maximum impoundment capacity smaller than 100 acre-feet; (d) water or silt retaining dams approved pursuant to § 45.1-222 or 45.1-225.1 of the Code of Virginia; or (e) obstructions in a canal used to raise or lower water.

"Impoundment" means a body of water or other materials the storage of which is caused by any impounding structure.

"Life of the impounding structure" and "life of the project" mean that period of time for which the impounding structure is designed and planned to perform effectively, including the time required to remove the structure when it is no longer capable of functioning as planned and designed.

"Maximum impounding capacity" means the volume of water or other materials in acre-feet that is capable of being impounded at the top of the impounding structure.

"New construction" means any impounding structure issued a construction permit or otherwise constructed on or after July 1, 2010.

"Normal or typical water surface elevation" means the water surface elevation at the crest of the lowest ungated outlet from the impoundment or the elevation of the normal pool of the impoundment if different than the water surface elevation at the crest of the lowest ungated outlet. For calculating sunny day failures for flood control impounding structures, stormwater detention impounding structures, and related facilities designed to hold back volumes of water for slow release, the normal or typical water surface elevation shall be measured at the crest of the auxiliary or emergency spillway.

"Operation and Maintenance Certificate" means a certificate required for the operation and maintenance of all impounding structures.

"Owner" means the owner of the land on which an impounding structure is situated, the holder of an easement permitting the construction of an impounding structure and any person or entity agreeing to maintain an impounding structure. The term "owner" may include the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, including but not limited to sanitation district commissions and authorities, any public or private institutions, corporations, associations, firms or companies organized or existing under the laws of this Commonwealth or any other state or country, as well as any person or group of persons acting individually or as a group.

"Planned land use" means land use that has been approved by a locality or included in a master land use plan by a locality, such as in a locality's comprehensive land use plan.

"Spillway" means a structure to provide for the controlled release of flows from the impounding structure into a downstream area.

"Stage I Condition" means a flood watch or heavy continuous rain or excessive flow of water from ice or snow melt.

"Stage II Condition" means a flood watch or emergency spillway activation or impounding structure overtopping where a failure may be possible.

"Stage III Condition" means an emergency spillway activation or impounding structure overtopping where imminent failure is probable.

"Sunny day dam failure" means the failure of an impounding structure with the initial water level at the normal reservoir level, usually at the lowest ungated principal spillway elevation or the typical operating water level.

"Tabletop Exercise" means a type of emergency action plan exercise that involves a meeting of the impounding structure owner and the state and local emergency management officials in a conference room environment. The format is usually informal with minimum stress involved. The exercise begins with the description of a simulated event and proceeds with discussions by the participants to evaluate the EAP and response procedures and to resolve concerns regarding coordination and responsibilities.

"Top of the impounding structure" means the lowest point of the nonoverflow section of the impounding structure.

"Watercourse" means a natural channel having a well-defined bed and banks and in which water normally flows.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 1.3, eff. February 1, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 14, eff. July 1, 2002; Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008; Volume 27, Issue 6, eff. December 22, 2010; Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. November 8, 2012.

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