Water Quality

The Division of Water Resources is the administrative agent for key Tennessee Statutes:

  • Safe Dams Act, regulating the construction of non-federal dams
  • Tennessee Safe Drinking Water Act, regulating the quality and quantity of drinking water in the state
  • Water Wells Act, regulating the licensing of well drillers and pump setters
  • Water Withdrawal Registration Act, requiring the registration of water withdrawal
  • Water Quality Control Act, regulating surface waters in Tennessee.

Click here to access the Tennessee Code Annotated for these statutes.

The Division of Water Resources is the administrative agent for these key Rules and Regulations:

The Water Quality Branch is charged with the following activities: 

  • General supervision over construction and operation of public water supplies including design, construction, and operation of public water works systems.
  • Reviewing engineering reports and plan documents and providing written approval before construction is started.
  • Adopting and enforcing rules and regulations governing the location, design, construction, continuous operation and maintenance of these facilities.
  • Conducting an enforcement program which requires water suppliers to meet requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act with respect to water quality and information reporting.
  • Certifying laboratories and water suppliers desiring to conduct microbiological, organic, inorganic, and turbidity analysis of drinking water samples.
  • Conducting sanitary surveys of water supply systems for compliance and providing technical assistance to public water systems.
  • Conducting examinations of water supply system operators and certifying compliance with performance standards.
  • Conducting training courses for water supply operators for the purpose of assisting them in the understanding of changing regulations and technologies.
  • Maintaining an accurate database of water supply information.

The Division’s Ground Water Management Section has been assigned the responsibility for ground water protection strategy development, well-head protection, underground injection of waste, and some pesticide management activity under the Water Pollution Control Act.

The Division’s Safe Dams Program is responsible for conducting inspections, plans reviews, and permitting of dams and reservoir projects as required in the Safe Dams Act of 1973. The purpose of the program is to protect the public from dam failures. All non-federal dam owners are required to have a certificate of approval from the Commissioner to construct, alter, remove, or operate a dam.