Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
12/1/2021

Part III. Certificate Requirements

4VAC50-20-105. Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificates.

A. A Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate is required for an impounding structure. Such six-year certificates shall include the following based on hazard classification:

1. High Hazard Potential Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate;

2. Significant Hazard Potential Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate; or

3. Low Hazard Potential Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate.

B. The owner of an impounding structure shall apply for the renewal of the six-year Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate 90 days prior to its expiration. If a Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate is not renewed as required, the board shall take appropriate enforcement action.

C. Any owner of an impounding structure that does not have a Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate or any owner renewing a Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate shall file an Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application. A form for the application is available from the department (Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures). Such application shall be signed by the owner and signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer. The following information shall be submitted on or with the application:

1. The application shall include the following required information:

a. The name of structure and inventory number;

b. The proposed hazard potential classification;

c. Owner's name or representative if corporation, mailing address, residential and business telephone numbers, and other means of communication;

d. An operating plan and schedule including a narrative on the operation of control gates and spillways and the impoundment drain;

e. For earthen embankment impounding structures, a maintenance plan and schedule for the embankment, principal spillway, emergency spillway, low-level outlet, impoundment area, downstream channel, and staff gages;

f. For concrete impounding structures, a maintenance plan and schedule for the upstream face, downstream face, crest of dam, galleries, tunnels, abutments, spillways, gates and outlets, and staff gages;

g. An inspection schedule for operator inspection, maintenance inspection, technical safety inspection, and overtopping situations;

h. A schedule including the rainfall amounts, emergency spillway flow levels or storm event that initiates the Emergency Action or Preparedness Plan and the frequency of observations;

i. A statement as to whether or not the current hazard potential classification for the impounding structure is appropriate and whether or not additional work is needed to make an appropriate hazard potential designation;

j. For newly constructed or recently altered impounding structures, a certification from a licensed professional engineer who has monitored the construction or alteration of the impounding structure that, to the best of the engineer's judgment, knowledge, and belief, the impounding structure and its appurtenances were constructed or altered in conformance with the plans, specifications, drawings and other requirements approved by the board;

k. Certification by the owner's engineer that the Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application information provided pursuant to subdivision 1 of this subsection is true and correct in their professional judgment. Such certification shall include the engineer's signature, printed name, Virginia number, date, and the engineer's Virginia seal; and

l. Owner's signature certifying the Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application information provided pursuant to subdivision 1 of this subsection and that the operation and maintenance plan and schedule shall be conducted in accordance with this chapter.

2. An Inspection Report (Annual Inspection Report for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures) in accordance with subsection E of this section;

3. An Emergency Action Plan in accordance with 4VAC50-20-175 or an Emergency Preparedness Plan in accordance with 4VAC50-20-177 and evidence that the required copies of such plan have been submitted to the local organization for emergency management and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management;

4. Any additional analysis determined necessary by the director, the board or the owner's engineer to address public safety concerns. Such additional analysis may include, but not be limited to, seismic stability, earthen spillway integrity, adequate freeboard allowance, stability assessment of the impoundment's foundation, potential liquefaction of the embankment, overturning or sliding of a concrete structure and other structural stress issues; and

5. If applicable, a current certification from the dam owner in accordance with 4VAC50-20-53.

D. If the Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application submittal is found to be not complete, the director shall inform the applicant within 30 days and shall explain what changes are required for an acceptable submission. Within 60 days of receipt of a complete application the board shall act upon the application. Upon finding that the impounding structure as currently operating is in compliance with this chapter, the board shall issue a Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate. Should the board find that the impounding structure as currently operating is not in compliance with this chapter, the board may deny the permit application or issue a Conditional Operation and Maintenance Certificate in accordance with 4VAC50-20-150.

E. Inspections shall be performed on an impounding structure annually.

1. Inspection Reports (Annual Inspection Report for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures) signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer shall be submitted to the department in accordance with the following schedule:

a. For a High Hazard Potential impounding structure, every two years;

b. For a Significant Hazard Potential impounding structure, every three years;

c. For a Low Hazard Potential impounding structure, every six years; or

d. For a High Hazard Potential impounding structure, annually in accordance with 4VAC50-20-53, where applicable.

In years when an Inspection Report signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer is not required, an owner shall submit the Annual Inspection Report for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures.

2. The Inspection Report shall include the following required information:

a. Project information including the name and inventory number of structure, name of the reservoir, and purpose of the reservoir;

b. City or county where the impounding structure is located;

c. Owner's name or representative if corporation, mailing address, residential and business telephone numbers, and other means of communication;

d. Owner's engineer's name, firm, professional engineer Virginia number, mailing address, and business telephone number;

e. Inspection observation of the impounding structure including the following:

(1) Earthen embankment information including any embankment alterations; erosion; settlement, misalignments or cracks; seepage and seepage flow rate and location;

(2) Upstream slope information including notes on woody vegetation removed, rodent burrows discovered, and remedial work performed;

(3) Intake structure information including notes on deterioration of concrete structures, exposure of rebar reinforcement, need to repair or replace trash rack, any problems with debris in the reservoir, and whether the drawdown valve operated;

(4) Abutment contacts including notes on seepage and seepage flow rate and location;

(5) Earthen emergency spillway including notes on obstructions to flow and plans to correct, rodent burrows discovered, and deterioration in the approach or discharge channel;

(6) Concrete emergency spillway including notes on the deterioration of the concrete, exposure of rebar reinforcement, any leakage below concrete spillway, and obstructions to flow and plans to correct;

(7) Downstream slope information including notes on woody vegetation removed, rodent burrows discovered, whether seepage drains are working, and any seepage or wet areas;

(8) Outlet pipe information including notes on any water flowing outside of discharge pipe through the impounding structure and a description of any reflection or damage to the pipe;

(9) Stilling basin information including notes on the deterioration of the concrete, exposure of rebar reinforcement, deterioration of the earthen basin slopes, repairs made, and any obstruction to flow;

(10) Gates information including notes on gate malfunctions or repairs, corrosion or damage, and whether any gates were operated and if so how often and to what extreme;

(11) Reservoir information including notes on new developments upstream of the dam, slides or erosion of lake banks, and general comments to include silt, algae, or other influence factors;

(12) Instruments information including any reading of instruments and any installation of new instruments; and

(13) General information including notes on new development in the downstream dam break inundation zone that would impact hazard classification or spillway design flood requirements, the maximum stormwater discharge or peak elevation during the previous year, whether general maintenance was performed and when, and actions that need to be completed before the next inspection.

f. Evaluation rating of the impounding structure and appurtenances (excellent, good, or poor), general comments, and recommendations;

g. Certification by the owner and date of inspection; and

h. Certification and seal by the owner's engineer and date of inspection, as applicable.

F. The owner of an impounding structure shall notify the department immediately of any change in the use of the area downstream that would impose hazard to life or property in the event of failure.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 6, eff. December 22, 2010.

4VAC50-20-110. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 3.2, eff. February 1, 1989; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-120. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 3.3, eff. February 1, 1989; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-125. Delayed effective date for Spillway Design Flood requirements for impounding structures.

A. If an impounding structure has been determined to have an adequate spillway capacity prior to September 26, 2008, and is currently operating under a Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate, but will now require spillway modifications due to changes in these regulations, the owner shall submit to the board an Alteration Permit Application in accordance with 4VAC50-20-80 to address spillway capacity at the time of the expiration of their Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate or by September 26, 2011, whichever is later. The Alteration Permit Application shall contain a construction sequence with milestones for completing the necessary improvements within five years of Alteration Permit issuance. The board may approve an extension of the prescribed time frame for good cause. Should the owner be able to demonstrate that no spillway capacity change is necessary, the impounding structure may be found to be in compliance with this chapter.

B. In accordance with 4VAC50-20-105, the owner shall submit the Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application (Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures), the Emergency Action Plan or Emergency Preparedness Plan, and the Inspection Report (Annual Inspection Report for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures) 90 days prior to the expiration of the Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate.

C. If circumstances warrant more immediate repairs to the impounding structure, the board may direct alterations to the spillway to be completed sooner.

D. During this delay period, owners are required to address other deficiencies that may exist that are not related to the spillway design flood.

E. Any impounding structure owner who, as of September 26, 2008, held an Alteration Permit or Construction Permit under the requirements of this chapter that were effective prior to that date, who has maintained this permit as valid, and who completes all requirements of such permit and any applicable Conditional Operation and Maintenance Certificate by September 26, 2011, shall not be required to meet new requirements of this chapter that became effective on September 26, 2008, until the completion of the first six-year certificate cycle following completion of all requirements of his permit and any applicable certificates. During this six-year period, the owner may be issued a Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate should the impounding structure otherwise be eligible for such certificate.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008; amended Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 5, eff. December 22, 2011.

4VAC50-20-130. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 3.4, eff. February 1, 1989; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-140. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 3.5, eff. February 1, 1989; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-150. Conditional operation and maintenance certificate.

A. During the review of any Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application (Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures) completed in accordance with 4VAC50-20-105 should the director determine that the impounding structure has nonimminent deficiencies, the director may recommend that the board issue a Conditional Operation and Maintenance Certificate.

B. The Conditional Operation and Maintenance Certificate for High, Significant, and Low Hazard Potential impounding structures shall be for a maximum term of two years. This certificate will allow the owner to continue normal operation and maintenance of the impounding structure, and shall require that the owner correct the deficiencies on a schedule approved by the board.

C. A Conditional Certificate may be extended in accordance with the procedures of 4VAC50-20-155 provided that Inspection Reports (Annual Inspection Report for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures) are on file, and the board determines that the owner is proceeding with the necessary corrective actions.

D. Once the deficiencies are corrected, the board shall issue a Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate based upon the impounding structure's meeting the requirements of 4VAC50-20-105.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 3.6, eff. February 1, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-155. Extension of Operation and Maintenance Certificates.

The board may extend an Operation and Maintenance Certificate for impounding structures provided that the owner submits a written request justifying an extension, the amount of time needed to comply with the requirements set out in the current Operation and Maintenance Certificate, and any required fees. The owner must have demonstrated substantial and continual progress towards meeting the requirements of the certificate in order to receive an extension.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-160. Additional operation and maintenance requirements.

A. The owner of an impounding structure shall not, through action or inaction, cause or allow such structure to impound water following receipt of a written report from the owner's engineer that the impounding structure will not safely impound water.

B. In accordance with § 10.1-609.2 of the Code of Virginia, impounding structure owners shall not permit the growth of trees and other woody vegetation and shall remove any such vegetation from the slopes and crest of embankments and the emergency spillway area, and within a distance of 25 feet from the toe of the embankment and abutments of the dam.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 3.7, eff. February 1, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-165. Agricultural exemption.

A. Impounding structures operated primarily for agricultural purposes that are less than 25 feet in height or that create a maximum impoundment capacity smaller than 100 acre-feet are exempt from the Impounding Structure Regulations.

B. An owner covered by an agricultural exemption pursuant to § 10.1-604 of the Code of Virginia and 4VAC50-20-30 may validate such exemption by submitting an Agricultural Exemption Report (Agricultural Exemption Report for Impounding Structures). The Agricultural Exemption Report shall include the following information:

1. Project information including the name and inventory number of the structure and name of the reservoir;

2. Location of the impounding structure including the city or county, number of feet or miles upstream or downstream of a highway and the highway number, name of the river or the stream, and the latitude and longitude;

3. Owner's name or representative if corporation, mailing address, residential and business telephone numbers, and other means of communication;

4. The impounding structure height in feet and the maximum impounding capacity in acre-feet;

5. A list of the agricultural functions for which the impoundment supplies water;

6. The date of validation; and

7. The owner's signature validating that the impoundment is operated primarily for agricultural purposes and is exempt from the regulations.

C. The Agricultural Exemption Report may be verified by the department through a site visit.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-170. Transfer of certificates.

A. Prior to the transfer of ownership of an impounding structure the certificate holder shall notify the director in writing and the new owner shall file a transfer notification with the department. A form for the transfer notification is available from the department (Transfer of Impounding Structure Notification from Past Owner to New Owner). The new owner may elect to continue the existing operation and maintenance certificate for the remaining term or he may apply for a new certificate in accordance with 4VAC50-20-105. If the owner elects to continue the existing certificate, he shall certify to the director that he is aware of and will comply with all of the requirements and conditions of the certificate.

B. The transfer notification shall include the following required information:

1. Project information including the name and inventory number of the structure, name of the reservoir, and impoundment hazard classification;

2. Location of the impounding structure including the city or county, number of feet or miles upstream or downstream of a highway and the highway number, name of the river or the stream, and the latitude and longitude;

3. Type of certificates and permits to be transferred including effective date and expiration date of all certificates and permits;

4. Past owner's name, mailing address, and residential and business telephone numbers;

5. New owner's name, mailing address, and residential and business telephone numbers;

6. Request to transfer certification statement signed and dated by the past owner;

7. Certification of compliance with permit or certificate with all said terms and conditions signed and dated by the new owner; and

8. Contact information updates for Emergency Action Plan or Emergency Preparedness Plan provided by the new owner. Such updates shall include the name, mailing address, and residential and business telephone numbers for the impounding structure owner, impounding structure operator, rainfall and staff gage observer, and alternate observer.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR625-01-00 § 3.8, eff. February 1, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008.

4VAC50-20-175. Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for High and Significant Hazard Potential impounding structures.

A. In order to protect life during potential emergency conditions at an impounding structure, and to ensure effective, timely action is taken should an impounding structure emergency occur, an EAP shall be required for each High and Significant Hazard Potential impounding structure. The EAP shall be coordinated with the Department of Emergency Management in accordance with § 44-146.18 of the Code of Virginia. The EAP required by these regulations shall be incorporated into local and interjurisdictional emergency plans pursuant to § 44-146.19 of the Code of Virginia.

B. It is the impounding structure owner's responsibility to develop, maintain, exercise, and implement a site-specific EAP.

C. An EAP shall be submitted every six years. The EAP shall be submitted with the owner's submittal of their Regular Operation and Maintenance Certificate application (Operation and Maintenance Certificate Application for Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures).

D. The owner shall update and resubmit the EAP immediately upon becoming aware of necessary changes to keep the EAP workable. Should an impounding structure be reclassified, an EAP in accordance with this section shall be submitted.

E. A drill shall be conducted annually for each high or significant hazard impounding structure. To the extent practicable, the drill should include a face-to-face meeting with the local emergency management agencies responsible for any necessary evacuations to review the EAP and ensure the local emergency management agencies understand the actions required during an emergency. Except as set out in 4VAC50-20-53, a table-top exercise shall be conducted once every six years, although more frequent table-top exercises are encouraged. Drills and table-top exercises for multiple impounding structures may be performed in combination if the involved parties are the same. Owners shall certify to the department annually that a drill, a table-top exercise, or both has been completed and provide any revisions or updates to the EAP or a statement that no revisions or updates are needed.

F. Impounding structure owners shall test existing monitoring, sensing, and warning equipment at remote or unattended impounding structures at least twice per year or as performed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management pursuant to § 10.1-609.1 of the Code of Virginia and maintain a record of such tests.

G. An EAP shall contain the following seven basic elements unless otherwise specified in this subsection.

1. Notification chart. A notification chart shall be included for all classes of impounding structures that shows who is to be notified, by whom, and in what priority. The notification chart shall include contact information providing 24-hour telephone coverage for all responsible parties including, but not limited to, the impounding structure operator or manager, state and local emergency management officials, local police or sheriffs' departments, and the owner's engineer. The notification chart shall also identify the process by which downstream property owners will be notified, and what party or parties will be responsible for making such notifications.

2. Emergency Detection, Evaluation, and Classification. The EAP shall include a discussion of the procedures for timely and reliable detection, evaluation, and classification of emergency situations considered to be relevant to the project setting and impounding features. Each relevant emergency situation is to be documented to provide an appropriate course of action based on the urgency of the situation. Where appropriate, situations should address impounding structure failures that are imminent or in progress, a situation where the potential for impounding structure failure is rapidly developing, and a situation where the threat is slowly developing.

3. Responsibilities. The EAP shall specify responsibilities for EAP-related tasks. The EAP shall also clearly designate the responsible party for making the decision that an emergency condition no longer exists at the impounding structure. The EAP shall include procedures and the responsible parties for notifying to the extent possible any known local occupants, owners, or lessees of downstream properties potentially impacted by the impounding structure's failure.

4. Preparedness. The EAP shall include a section that describes preparedness actions to be taken both before and following development of emergency conditions.

5. Dam Break Inundation Maps. The EAP shall include dam break inundation maps developed in accordance with 4VAC50-20-54.

6. Appendices. The appendices shall contain information that supports and supplements the material used in the development and maintenance of the EAP such as analyses of impounding structure failure floods; plans for training, exercising, updating, and posting the EAP; and other site-specific concerns.

7. Certification. The EAP shall include a section that identifies all parties with assigned responsibilities in the EAP pursuant to subdivision 3 of this subsection. This will include certification that the EAP has been received by these parties. The preparer's name, title, and contact information shall be printed in this section. The preparer's signature shall also be included in the certification section. The local organization for emergency management shall provide the owner and the department with any deficiencies they may note.

H. The development of the EAP shall be coordinated with all entities, jurisdictions, and agencies that would be affected by an impounding structure failure or that have statutory responsibilities for warning, evacuation, and postflood actions. Consultation with state and local emergency management officials at appropriate levels of management responsible for warning and evacuation of the public shall occur to ensure that there is awareness of their individual and group responsibilities. The owner shall also coordinate with the local organization for emergency management to identify properties that upon failure of the impounding structure would result in economic impacts.

I. The EAP, or any updates to an existing EAP, shall be submitted to the department, the local organization for emergency management, and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Two copies shall be provided to the department.

J. The following format shall be used as necessary to address the requirements of this section.

Title Page/Cover Sheet

Table of Contents

I. Certifications

II. Notification Flowchart

III. Statement of Purpose

IV. Project Description

V. Emergency Detection, Evaluation, and Classification

VI. General Responsibilities Under the EAP

A. Impounding Structure Owner Responsibilities

B. Responsibility for Notification

C. Responsibility for Evacuation

D. Responsibility for Termination and Follow-Up

E. EAP Coordinator Responsibility

VII. Preparedness

VIII. Inundation Maps

IX. Appendices

A. Investigation and Analyses of Impounding Structure Failure Floods

B. Plans for Training, Exercising, Updating, and Posting the EAP

C. Site-Specific Concerns

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 6, eff. December 22, 2010.

4VAC50-20-177. Emergency Preparedness Plan for Low Hazard impounding structures.

Low Hazard impounding structures shall provide information for emergency preparedness to the department, the local organization for emergency management and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. A form for the submission is available from the department (Emergency Preparedness Plan for Low Hazard Virginia Regulated Impounding Structures). The information shall include, but not be limited, to the following:

1. Name and location information for the impounding structure including city or county and latitude and longitude;

2. Name of owner and operator and associated contact information including residential and business telephone numbers and other means of communication;

3. Contact information for relevant emergency responders including the following:

a. Local dispatch center or centers governing the impounding structure's dam break inundation zone; and

b. City or county emergency services coordinator's name or names;

4. Procedures for notifying downstream property owners or occupants potentially impacted by the impounding structure's failure;

5. A dam break inundation zone map completed in accordance with 4VAC50-20-54 and evidence that:

a. Such map has been filed with the offices with plat and plan approval authority or zoning responsibilities as designated by the locality for each locality in which the dam break inundation zone resides; and

b. Required copies of such plan have been submitted to the local organization for emergency management and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management; and

6. Certification of the accuracy of the plan by the owner.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-605 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2008; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. November 8, 2012.

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