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TDEC COVID-19 Response and Resources

Plans Review and Approval for Public Water Systems

Who Needs A Public Water System Approval?

Persons who construct or modify a public water system are required to obtain an approval from the Tennessee Division of Water Resources. Typical applicants include churches, schools, industries, restaurants, camps and subdivisions relying on a water well, spring, or surface source. Persons who intend to bottle and sell spring water must also obtain approval from the Division.

Public water systems that meet the all of the following criteria are not regulated and,

  • Consists only of distribution and storage facilities, and does not have any collection and treatment facilities
  • Obtains all its water from a public water system, but is not owned or operated by that public water system
  • Does not sell water to any person
  • Is not a carrier that conveys passengers in interstate commerce

Industries using groundwater or surface water for non-potable uses are not required to obtain approval from the DWS; however, some uses may require an Aquatic Resources Alteration Permit.

What Information Must I Provide?

At least 30 days before construction or modification, applicants are required to submit all engineering and construction plans, a completed Plans Review Fee Worksheet Form and the proper fee to the Division of Water Resources. All plan documents must be presented in conformance with accepted engineering practices and the "Community Public Water Systems Design Criteria" manual published by the Division of Water Resources. In addition, all new sources of public drinking water are required to have chemical and biological testing completed before being placed in service. New water sources must be approved by the DWS before an application is processed.

Form Description Form Number  
Plans Review Fee Worksheet CN-1188  

How Will My Application Be Processed?

The Division of Water Resources reviews the plans and checks their consistency with the Division's design manual to determine whether the design standards have been met. Plan documents must be reviewed by the DWS within 30 days after receipt. If all standards, rules and regulations have been met, the plans are approved, and an approval letter is sent to the applicant within 30 days of receiving the plans. No public notice is required. The approval expires in one (1) year.

What Fees Are Required?

Fees are required for construction of new facilities, the expansion or modification of existing facilities, plans approval, and/or site evaluation.

  • Well or spring development: $200 each
  • Chemical control plant: $400
  • Disinfection systems
        » gaseous: $300
        » hypochlorinator: $150
  • Filter plant: $1000
  • Pump stations: $250 each
  • Tanks: $225 each
  • Standard specification: $100
  • Tank recoating: $50 each
  • Sludge treatment and handling: $150
  • Water lines:
        » 1000 feet or less - $100
        » Over 1,000 feet: $100 + $0.01 for each foot over 1,000
  • Change orders: $50 each
  • Operation and Maintenance Manual: $150
  • New Water Source and Site Evaluation: $300
  • Site Evaluation for Water Plant Sludge Application: $300
  • Miscellaneous (engineering reports, addenda, etc.): $50 each

Annual facility maintenance fee invoices are mailed to each water utility at least 45 days before the due date. Fees vary depending on the type of system and the number of connections.

What Are My Rights And Responsibilities After The Approval Is Issued?

The applicant has the right to proceed with the plans as approved. The approval may be extended or revised with the submittal of a written request and the proper plans and fees. The approval is not transferable, and there are no rights of appeal. However, informal

The applicant has the responsibility to begin construction within one (1) year of the approval. The project engineer or a qualified person must provide continuous inspection during construction to assure that all work is done in accordance with the approved plans and documents. In addition, the applicant must comply with all operational requirements and conditions as stated in the Tennessee Regulations for Public Water Systems and Drinking Water Quality.

What Are The Division's Rights And Responsibilities After The Approval Is Issued?

The Division of Water Resources has the right to exercise general supervision over the construction, operation and maintenance of public water systems throughout the state. The Division has the right to inspect a construction site when deemed necessary. Any person who violates or fails to comply with the rules, regulations or any state or federal water quality standards is subject to a civil penalty up to $5,000 per day for each day of

The Division of Water Resources is responsible for regulating public water systems in

Whom Do I Contact For Applications, Assistance And Of Information?

Applicants can obtain applications and information from the Tennessee Division of Water Resources. New applicants who need more than one permit can contact their Environmental Field Office for further assistance.

Applicants may refer to the following publications: