Who regulates dam operations?
A number of state and federal agencies are responsible for regulating dams. In New Jersey, the Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Dam Safety regulates most dams. Dams owned by federal agencies are self-regulated. Non-federal dams that produce hydropower are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). (AR)
What do the different classifications of dams mean?
There are four hazard classifications of dams in New Jersey. The classifications relate to the potential for property damage and/or loss of life should the dam fail:
What qualifies as a Class IV dam?
A Class IV Dam must meet the following:
The complete definition of a Class IV dam is listed in the New Jersey Dam Safety Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:20-1.8 a-4). You may also see the graphical demonstration of the definition of a dam. (NJDS)
How often are dams required to be inspected?
The inspection requirements depend on the size and hazard classification of the dam:
|Dam Size/Type||Regular Inspection||Formal Inspection|
|Class I Large Dam||annually||once every 3 years|
|Class I Dam||once every 2 years||once every 6 years|
|Class II Dam||once every 2 years||once every 10 years|
|Class III Dam||once every 4 years||only as required|
|Class IV Dam||once every 4 years||only as required|
For complete inspection and operating requirements for dams, see the New Jersey Dam Safety Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:20-1.11). (NJDS)
What is an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?
The purpose of an EAP is to help save lives and reduce property damage in the event of a dam failure or other uncontrolled release of water. An EAP is a formal document that:
What dams require Emergency Action Plans (EAPs)?
All Class I (High-Hazard Potential) and Class II (Significant-Hazard Potential) dams require Department-approved Emergency Action Plans (EAPs). It is the responsibility of the owner of the dam to review and update the EAP annually. See the Guidelines for Developing an Emergency Action Plan for additional information. (NJDS)
Do I need a permit to work on my dam?
If you are performing any work outside of general maintenance (ie: light vegetation removal, clearing of debris, and filling of minor erosion and animal burrows) that affects the physical structure or performance of a dam, a permit from Bureau of Dam Safety must be obtained. If you are unsure of whether or not a permit is required for the type of work that you are planning, please contact this office prior to commencement of the activities. (NJDS)
What kind of permit do I need?
A Dam Construction Permit Application is required for the following:
What is required for a permit for dam construction, repair or rehabilitation?
In addition to a completed Dam Construction Permit Application, the requirements of the New Jersey Dam Safety Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:20-1.6 Sections a-c) and (N.J.A.C. 7:20-1.7 Sections a-g) Application Stages must be met. (NJDS)
What is required for a permit for dam removal or decommissioning?
Are dams in the Pinelands area exempt from state statutes?
The Safe Dam Act grants the Department jurisdiction over dams within the pinelands region that meet the following requirements: dam height greater than eight (8) feet, reservoir greater than 100 acres in area or contributing drainage area exceeding 1 square mile. However, the Department does not regulate any dam used for agricultural purposes within the special agricultural production area (SA) within the Pinelands region. Please contact this office if you are unsure whether or not a dam meets these specifications. (NJDS)