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Environmental Permits Handbook

Inter-Basin Transfer

* Who Needs One? * What Information Must I Provide?
* How Will My Application be Processed? * What Fees are Required?
* What are My  Responsibilities
After the Permit is Issued?
* What are the Division's Responsibilities?

The Inter-basin permit is authorized by Rule 1200-4-13, that regulates water withdrawals from basins in Tennessee which discharges into basins different than the originating basins. You may contact the Division of Water Pollution Control if you would like additional information about this or if you have any other questions.

Who Needs An Inter-Basin Transfer Permit?

Anyone who proposes to transfer water out of a major river basin for the benefit of (or to supply) a public water system is required to obtain an Inter-Basin Transfer Permit. Further, anyone who presently transfers water out of a major river basin or supply water to another water system that then transfers water out of the originating major river basin are required to submit to the Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation documentation showing the amount of such inter-basin transfer by October 1, 2000.

If your system is currently transferring water out of a river basin (either directly or by way of another system) you must determine the amount that is transferred. Under the law, it is the average daily amount of inter-basin transfer calculated for the highest continuous 90-day period between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1999. You do not need obtain a permit for transferring that amount, but you must submit the amount.  You will have to apply for a permit if the amount increases in the future. 

What Information Must I Provide?

Any person required to apply for a permit for an inter-basin water transfer under rule 1200-4-13-.01(3) and §5 of the Act shall submit an application for such permit on forms furnished, upon request, by the commissioner. The application shall require an applicant to provide the commissioner the following information:

(a) The volume of the proposed withdrawal and the proposed transfer stated in gallons per day that the applicant seeks to be authorized;
(b) Identification of all of the withdrawal, return, and transfer points;
(c) The volume of water that will be returned to the basin of origin or a downstream basin;
(d) The peak capacity of each major component in the proposed withdrawal and transfer facilities;
(e) Engineering and economic justification for the capacity of each major component of the proposed withdrawal and transfer facilities;
(f) An assessment of the hydraulic and environmental impacts of the withdrawal on the losing river;
(g) An engineering, environmental, and economic assessment of the feasibility of utilizing alternate water sources by the water system in the receiving basin;
(h) A listing of conservation programs or practices occurring or proposed of the system in the receiving river basin;
(i) The proposed date upon which the water transfer is to commence;
(j) The purpose and justification for the proposed transfer; and
(k) Any other appropriate information

If you have no existing inter-basin transfer, you are not required to report.

How Will My Information Be Processed?

We will acknowledge receipt of your information and advise you if we believe the documentation is deficient within 30 days. Any deficiency must be promptly resolved.

What Fees Are Required?

The application fees for individual inter-basin transfer permits shall be $250.00 for a flow less than or equal to 125,000 gallons per day (GPD); $500.00 for a flow greater than 125,000 GDP and less than or equal to 250,000 GPD; $750.00 for a flow greater than 250,000 GPD and less than or equal to 375,000 GPD; and $1,000.00 for a flow greater than 375,000 GPD and less than or equal to 500,000 GPD. Above 500,000 GPD, the fee shall be $1,000 for each 500,000 GPD or fraction thereof. These flows shall be such flows authorized to be transferred by the permit. This shall be calculated based upon the maximum amount authorized by the permit. This fee shall apply to new applications, renewals, or those modifications that extend the term of the permit. If an applicant for a permit modification only seeks an increase of the amount authorized to be transferred for the same permit term, then the fee shall be calculated on the basis of the difference in the two amounts."

What Are My Responsibilities After I submit the Information?

On October 1 of every year, you must submit a statement under oath certifying that there has been no increase in the amount of the inter-basin transfer or a timely application for a permit if you propose to increase the volume of water transferred. Any violation of these reporting requirements may be subject to enforcement.

What Are The Division's Responsibilities?

The Department is currently in the process of developing the rules and regulations for this new program. You may contact the Division of Water Pollution Control if you would like information about those or if you have any other questions.

Whom Do I Contact For Applications, Assistance And Other Sources of Information?

Send documentation to

Inter-basin Transfer Documentation
TDEC – Water Pollution Control Division
6th Floor, L & C Annex
401 Church Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-1534

Information regarding this permit may be obtained from the Division of Water Pollution Control

Rules for Inter-Basin Water Transfers

Applicants may refer to the following publications:

Permitting Home

What Environmental Permits Do I Need?

Prudent Site Checks

Permit Application Forms

Standard Operating Procedures

Division of Water Pollution Control

WPC Standard Operating Procedures

TCA § 69-3-108exittdec3.gif (1060 bytes): Tennessee Water Quality Control Act of 1977

Where are the River Basins Regulated by the  Inter-Basin Permit Law?

Permitted Inter-basin Transfers

Defined Terms

waters of the State