Water Resources Center

Dam Construction Permit Process

  1. Are you currently planning to construct a new dam or modify an existing dam that is non-federally owned or regulated and will be at least 35 feet in height?

    If no, go to 2.
    If yes, go to 3.

  2. A permit is not required from the Dam and Reservoir Safety Program. However, prior to building the dam you need to inquire with your local Corps of Engineers District Office regarding the need for a 404 Permit and with DNR – Division of Environmental Quality regarding the need for a 401 Water Quality Certification.
  3. Will the dam be used for agricultural purposes as defined in Section 236.400(1) of the Revised Statutes of Missouri?

    If no, go to 6.
    If yes, go to 4.

  4. Have you obtained an agricultural exemption from the Dam and Reservoir Safety Council allowing you to construct or alter the dam without a construction permit?

    If no, go to 5.
    If yes, go to 2.

  5. Please contact the Dam and Reservoir Safety Program (DRSP) or go to the WRC – Dam Safety website to obtain a copy of the agricultural exemption information sheet (780-1765). This form and supporting documentation needs to be provided to the DRSP at least 30 days prior to a scheduled Dam and Reservoir Safety Council meeting.

    If you are successful in obtaining the exemption, go to 2.
    If you are unsuccessful in obtaining the exemption, go to 6.

  6. You are required to retain the services of a professional engineer registered in Missouri to prepare a construction permit application for the construction or modification of the dam in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 236.400 to 236.500 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri and the Rules and regulations of the Missouri Dam and Reservoir Safety Council.
  7. Once the construction permit is issued, it will be valid for the period identified in the permit. This date may be extended upon request. A registered professional engineer licensed in Missouri must monitor the work covered under the construction permit.
  8. Upon completion of the construction activity, the engineer must submit as-built plans and a signed and sealed certification that the work was completed in accordance with the approved plans and specifications.
  9. The operating permit for a dam built prior to Aug. 13, 1981, is a Registration Permit and for dam built after that date is a Safety Permit. The term of these permits is based on the hazard classification of the dam. Class 1 dams get two-year permits, Class 2 dams get three-year permits and Class 3 dams get five-year permits. The permit renewal inspections for all regulated dams are done by registered professional engineers employed by the Missouri Dam and Reservoir Safety Program at no cost to the dam owner.
  10. Contact the Dam and Reservoir Safety Program of DNR with any questions you may have about your dam; 573-368-2175.