Environmental Permits Section
Roadway construction has long been recognized as a potential source of adverse environmental impact upon hydrological systems. To minimize the risk of construction-related impacts, TDOT complies with the criteria set forth by state and federal agencies whose duties include regulating impacts to jurisdictional waters in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act, the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act, and the TVA Act of 1933.
The Environmental Permits Section is responsible for obtaining appropriate permits for all TDOT projects that impact federal and state jurisdictional waters from the following agencies:
- Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) - General and Individual Aquatic Resource Alteration Permits (ARAP); Class V Underground Injection Well Permits; NPDES Construction Stormwater Permit Coverage
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Nationwide and Individual Section 404 Permits
- Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - Section 26a Permits
The Environmental Permits Section works closely with the Environmental Division's other offices, Design Division, Construction Division, Right-of-Way Division, Maintenance Division, Regional Environmental Technical Offices, and the regulatory agencies to meet permit application, public notice, and constructability requirements. The Environmental Permits Section reviews roadway and utility plans and ecological, hydraulic, and geotechnical information to ensure impacts to jurisdictional waters have been avoided and minimized to the maximum extent practicable. Where impacts cannot be avoided, a water quality permit application is prepared that describes the water feature, its proposed impact, and its proposed on-site resource and replacement and/or mitigation. On-site resource replacement is proposed, where possible. Compensatory mitigation, whether it is onsite, offsite, or bought from a third party, is coordinated with the Mitigation Office. Once a permit is received and the project is let for construction, the Environmental Permits Section applies for permit modifications requested by the Environmental Technical Office.
The Environmental Permits Section is also responsible for obtaining appropriate storm water permits for all TDOT projects statewide that will disturb one acre or more of land during construction. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a permit for discharge of storm water associated with construction activities which is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA has delegated this regulation to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), which issues Construction General Permit coverage for projects.
For questions regarding environmental permits, please contact the appropriate contact for each region as listed below.