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Section 26a of the TVA Act

How to Apply

This page outlines the steps you need to take to apply for a construction permit. Please note that it's now possible to apply and pay online. See Step 3.

1. Check the construction standards

View information on construction standards applicable to your project.

2. Determine the type of project you’re undertaking.

You’ll need to make a drawing of your project to be submitted with the application form. View lists of sample drawings at one of the following pages:

Minor Construction Projects. These include boat docks, piers, boathouses, fences, steps, shoreline-based shelters, and others.

Major Construction Projects. These include commercial marinas, community docks, barge terminals and mooring cells, utility crossings, bridges, culverts, roads, wastewater discharges, water intakes and sewage outfalls, dredging, placement of fill, and others.

You may copy any of these sample designs and add your specific project dimensions, develop you own drawings, or use professional engineered drawings for more complex projects.

3. Fill out the application form

You may apply online or print out your application and mail it to TVA.

Apply and pay online.

The Joint Application Form and the Applicant Disclosure Form are required to submit an application.

To use the printed forms, choose one of the following:
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader, DOC files require Microsoft Word

• For the electronic version, type in the information online, then print out the completed form, and sign and date it.
ELECTRONIC Joint Application Form (DOCX, 30 kb)

ELECTRONIC Applicant Disclosure Form (DOCX, 26 kb)

• For the PDF version, first print the form, then fill it out in ink, and sign and date it.
Joint Application Form (PDF, 89 kb)

Applicant Disclosure Form (PDF, 85 kb)

The application should include a project description that indicates what is to be built, removed, or modified, and the sequence of the work.

4. Identify the geographic location of your project

If you are mailing your application to TVA, provide a map that clearly shows the location of the proposed facility. An 8.5- by 11-inch copy of one of the following is ideal: a TVA land map (D Stage land map available from TVA), a subdivision map, or a portion of a U.S. Geological Survey topographic map. Be sure to include your subdivision name and lot number if applicable. Also include the map number or name, if available. Recent photos of the location are also helpful. See a list of TVA reservoirs and a Tennessee Valley map providing information on which Watershed Office serves your reservoir or watershed area. Contact the appropriate Watershed Office for more assistance or if you have questions about the location of your project.

5. Include the correct fee

See the table of fees below.

6. Submit the applicant’s package

The applicant’s package includes the project description and drawing, two-page application form, and fee. Applications must be sent to the appropriate Watershed Office.

What happens after you submit your application?

Once your application is received, we will review it to make sure it is complete and that the correct fee is included. You will be contacted if additional information is needed. TVA staff will visit the project site as part of the review process. On most minor projects that meet construction guidelines, approval will be received within 45 days. On major projects where modifications are not required, approvals will be received within 90 days. Some projects that are complex or involve substantial environmental or engineering issues may require the preparation of an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement. On these projects, TVA will meet with applicants to determine schedule and costs of project review.

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TVA Permitting Fees

Pursuant to federal regulations, applicants are required to reimburse TVA for the cost of processing a Section 26a permit application (18 C.F.R. Part 1310). This practice ensures that the people who directly benefit from the permit are responsible for the cost of the service provided. TVA has implemented an application fee schedule to facilitate this reimbursement. These fees are based on the cost to TVA of providing this service.  TVA will continue to examine its costs of providing these services and, if these costs change, application fees will be adjusted accordingly.  TVA incorporates sound business principles into its daily work and continually strives to improve its efficiency in order to reduce its costs of doing business.

Standard Applications

The fee schedule for standard applications is based on an analysis of TVA’s costs for processing applications. These costs include site investigations, record searches, analysis for conformance to TVA requirements, environmental review, permit preparation, and related activities. Paying the fee does not guarantee approval of the permit, and the fee will not be refunded if the application is not approved.

On-reservoir activities Initial Fee

Applications from adjoining property owners for docks, boathouses, or other minor shoreline alterations

$500

Applications from adjoining property owners for marinas, community facilities, barge terminals, bridges, or other major shoreline alterations.

$1,000

Applications from local, state, or federal agencies for major shoreline alterations.

$500

Applications for transfer of ownership of existing permitted facilities.*

$250

*Existing facilities not constructed in accordance with plans approved by TVA do not qualify for a transfer of ownership and will be assessed a $500 or $1,000 application fee associated with minor or major shoreline alterations, respectively, depending upon the nature of the facilities.

Off-reservoir activities Initial Fee

All applications for minor or major construction activities or for transfer of ownership of existing permitted facilities.

$250

 

A single permit application may include more than one construction activity at the same location for a single fee (e.g., a dock and bank stabilization). If another application is later made for additional activities or to modify previous permits, a separate fee will be charged for each new application.

Non-Standard Applications

If processing costs are expected to significantly exceed the standard fees identified above, TVA will notify the applicant in writing that full-cost recovery will be required.  The applicant will be required to sign an agreement before work begins, and TVA will invoice the applicant on a monthly basis when costs exceed the initial application fee.  Work will cease if the applicant does not promptly pay TVA invoices.

These fees will recover the cost of detailed analyses such as special biological studies, archaeological surveys, environmental assessments (EA), or environmental impact statements (EIS), which may be required in special circumstances such as when wetlands, cultural resources, or endangered species might be impacted by the proposal.

Additional fees may be assessed for processing after-the-fact permits for activities already conducted without a permit in violation of Federal regulations.

The following is general guidance for TVA full cost recovery fees and project duration.   These figures are not exact or binding, but are provided to generally describe what may be encountered.  Costs and schedule will be determined by the specific circumstances of each location and action. As with any project concerning unknowns, the fees and duration could escalate significantly depending on what is discovered during the review. 

Non-Standard Applications - Full Cost Recovery

Typical Cost and Duration

Modifications to existing projects, new projects requiring limited additional special studies, or actions not covered by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers general permit.

$1,000  to $3,000
(3 to 5 months)

Projects requiring in-depth or additional review of at least one environmental or programmatic issue.  Issues can include, but are not limited to: identification of historic or archaeological resources, presence of wetlands, threatened or endangered species impacts requiring involvement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TVA programmatic interests (for example, transmission rights-of-way, navigation, and municipal water supply), or actions not covered by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers general permit.

$5,000 to $10,000
(4 to 12 months)

Projects which require in-depth or additional review of multiple environmental or programmatic issues.  An EA may be required.  Issues can include, but are not limited to: investigation and documentation of historic or archaeological resources, wetland impact mitigation studies, issues requiring seasonal field review (low water level, foliage emergence), formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on threatened or endangered species, controversial actions, significant TVA programmatic interests, or actions not covered by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers general permit.

Up to $15,000
(6 to 18 months)

Projects which require in-depth, detailed studies for multiple or significant environmental or programmatic issues.   An EA or EIS may be required.  Issues can include, but are not limited to: mitigation of impacts caused by the proposed action, impacts to historic or archaeological resources, significant wetlands impacts, formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on significant threatened or endangered species impacts, significant TVA programmatic interests, or actions not covered by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers general permit.  If proposed action is controversial, public meetings may be conducted, and the applicant would be responsible for costs incurred.

$25,000 or significantly more (12 to 36 months, potentially more)

These figures reflect TVA’s review costs only.  Fees from other service providers and state and federal agencies may also be required. 

On-reservoir and off-reservoir activities

On-reservoir activities include Section 26a permit requests across, along, or in TVA reservoirs and regulated rivers and streams in the Tennessee River Watershed. Regulated rivers and streams are those rivers and streams located downstream of TVA dams and which are directly impacted by the operation of TVA dams. Off-reservoir activities include Section 26a permit requests on all other perennial rivers and streams in the Tennessee River Watershed.

Note: Site specific conditions may impact the review and approval of your application. Applying does not guarantee approval. TVA may change its application fees and/or its Section 26a rules and procedures from time to time. Contact your local regional watershed office for more information and clarification.

 

Note: Site specific conditions may impact the review and approval of your application. Applying does not guarantee approval. Contact your local regional watershed office for more information and clarification.

           
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