Permit Program and Waterworks Design

Permit Types

Operation Permit

12VAC5-590-190 of the Waterworks Regulations requires all waterworks in Virginia to be operated under the authorization of an Operation Permit issued by the Commissioner.

A new Operation Permit is issued for

  • New waterworks; or
  • Waterworks that have a change in ownership.

An Operation Permit may be amended for

  • Changes in source, treatment, storage, pumping or distribution facilities; or
  • Operating conditions.

The permitted capacity of the waterworks is the limiting hydraulic capability of the waterworks, taking into consideration the source water withdrawal, treatment facilities, finished water storage, delivery and distribution system.

ODW issues 2 types of Operation Permits: Standard and Temporary.

  • Standard Operation Permits have no expiration date.
  • Temporary Operation Permits have an expiration date; typically 12 – 18 months from the issuance date. A Temporary Operation Permit allows additional time for the waterworks to achieve required reliability, collect additional data, and perform tests and/or determinations to establish hydraulic capacity and treatment performance.

Permit Application is required for all new Operation Permits.

An approved Waterworks Business Operations Plan may be required for new waterworks.

Construction Permit

12VAC5-590-200 of the Waterworks Regulations requires an owner or authorized agent to submit an application for a permit from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to construct, expand, or modify a waterworks.

The following types of projects do not require a construction permit, if you have any questions about applicability, please contact

  • Waterline projects approved by a locality with an ODW General Permit.
  • Waterline projects serving less than 15 connections and consisting of pipes less than or equal to 8 inches in diameter and a design demand of less than 6,000 gallons per day.
  • Replacement-in-kind and maintenance - Some examples include, replacing a 1,000 gallon pressure tank with another 1,000 gallon pressure tank with  the same dimensions and appurtenances, replacing a chemical metering pump with a chemical metering pump of equal or greater capacity, or replacing a 2-inch water main with a 2-inch water main in the same street. Maintenance could include painting a storage tank or rebuilding a water service pump. Replacement and maintenance items must comply with all requirements of Part III of the Regulations.
  • Projects not impacting the withdrawal, treatment, conveyance, or storage of drinking water, including water plant laboratories, or emergency generators.

General Permit for Construction of Water Distribution Mains

In lieu of obtaining a construction permit for each distribution main project, a waterworks owner may elect to obtain a General Permit.

  • All requests for a General Permit are directed initially to the appropriate ODW field office.
  • The waterworks must have an approved Local Review Program that includes General Specifications and Plan Details (Standards) for water distribution mains.