UPDATE: Ecology's new website will be live on Monday morning! Our official web address will be https://ecology.wa.gov

Dam Safety

Dam Safety


Periodic Inspection Fees

Ecology’s Dam Safety Office conducts periodic inspections of existing dams that are located in areas where dam failure and release of the reservoir contents could result in the loss of life.  The inspections are intended to identify deficiencies, reasonably assure safe operations, and confirm that maintenance is being adequately performed.  Periodic inspection fees apply.

Please note:  Starting July 1, 2009, significant hazard dams are inspected every 5 years, based on a proviso in the 2009 budget passed by the Legislature.  They were previously inspected on a 10-year cycle.

Basis for Inspection Fees

Inspections are done every five years for High Hazard and Significant Hazard dams.  Prorated periodic inspection fees are collected annually in advance of each 5-year inspection.  To determine your fee for this year, refer to Periodic Inspection Fees Table (below). Ecology bills the prorated annual periodic inspection fee based on the hazard level of the dam:

  • Significant Hazard: 1-2 homes (or equivalent population) at risk downstream in event of dam failure.
  • High Hazard: 3 or more homes (or equivalent population) at risk downstream in event of dam failure.
    Periodic Inspection Fees Table

    Dam Hazard Level

    Significant Hazard
    High Hazard



2012 Rulemaking

From 2005 to 2010, the fees for periodic inspections were calculated using a Fiscal Growth Factor applied to the previous year’s fees.  A rule amendment adopted in February 2012 removed the use of a Fiscal Growth Factor and implemented fees increases as directed in the 2011 Legislature’s budget bill.  For more information on this rulemaking, please see  Dam Safety Fee Rulemaking or Current Rulemaking Chapter 173-175 WAC - Dam Safety.

Exceptions to the periodic inspection fee

The exceptions to the normal periodic inspection fees are:

  • For dams less than 10 years old, NO fees are charged.
  • For high hazard dams more than 10 but less than 20 years old, fees equal the fee for significant hazard dams.
  • For impoundments with multiple dams, a single facility fee is charged, based on the dam with the highest hazard.
  • For multi-cell impoundments, such as multi-cell wastewater lagoons, a single facility fee is charged, based on the highest hazard cell.
  • For non-routine and public request inspections, NO fees are charged.

Periodic inspection fees are explained in the publication “Dam Safety Fees


Dam Safety Fees


Reference Material