An Overview of Dam Safety and Impoundment Permitting

Author(s): Myers, D.

There are approximately 7,000 dams in the State of Mississippi that form lakes that are 5 acres or greater in surface area. The State Dam Safety program which is part of the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Land and Water Resources is responsible for regulating these dams. These dams and lakes not only pose potential threats to lives and property, but can also alter the flow regime of Mississippi streams. Dams which are on inventory are classified as high, significant, or low hazard depending on what would be flooded downstream if the dam were to fail. One aspect of permitting impoundments includes consideration of impacts to minimum flows. Many impoundments are small and located in the upper reaches of watersheds. The small watersheds they impound typically have very low 7Q10 flows and have not been required to have minimum flow devices installed to bypass the 7Q10.

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