Water Quality Permits

Process overview

DEQ’s review of a proposed project begins once the project is put on public notice by the USACE. This public notice also includes DEQ’s public notice. DSL has a separate permitting and review process from the USACE but DEQ coordinates with both agencies as the project is reviewed. DEQ has up to one year to make a decision. 

Steps involved include:

  1. An Applicant submits a completed Joint Permit Application (JPA) to USACE and DSL. Applicants may also request a pre-application consultation as necessary. For projects that may be large, complex, or controversial in nature, please consider presenting at a monthly “Kaizen” meeting. Additional information on this early coordination meeting can be found here on the DSL Early Coordination Meetings web page.
  2. USACE determines permit type (Individual or Nationwide)
    If a project is reviewed under an Individual Permit, the USACE will put the project out for on a 30-day Public Notice, which includes DEQ’s public notice. The Public Notice will include information on how the public may submit comments and questions to the USACE and DEQ. If the project does not require a Public Notice by the USACE, DEQ may still be required to put the project out on a 35- day Public Notice. Please contact DEQ for more information.
  3. DEQ staff will review project applications, and evaluate impacts. Staff will provide comments and request additional information in addition to notifying the applicant of the review fee that will be assessed.
  4. DEQ staff will continue to evaluate the information provided by the applicant. Using information gathered during the review process and received via public comment, DEQ staff will determine whether a project is consistent with state water quality standards. DEQ will work with an applicant to modify the project if necessary to ensure compliance with these standards.
  5. If approved, the applicant and USACE receive a 401 Water Quality Certification with which confirms the project will meet water quality standards.

Please note: Projects receiving a 401 WQC must meet all other agency requirements and other applicable permits from DEQ (e.g. 1200-C Stormwater Discharge Permits).

Additional resources for 401 projects

Oregon Administrative Rules

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Natural Resource Conservation Service

Oregon Department of State Lands

Additional resources for specific project types

  • 2300A- Pesticide General Permit
    If the proposal involves widespread application of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides near water (e.g. golf course, playing fields, parks) an Integrated Pest Management plan, which incorporates limitations on banned or restricted chemicals, is required.

For dredging projects

  • Portland Sediment Evaluation Team Memorandum
    Any project that involves dredging, dam removal, or any other kind of discharge of sediment will require coordination with the PSET team. DEQ will require a copy of the PSET memorandum prior to issuance. Protocols for sediment characterization and chemical analysis have been developed by a multi-agency workgroup led by the USACE; DEQ is a member of this group.

For projects that add or redevelop impervious surfaces

​Program contacts

Northwest and Eastern Region
Western Region

Download a contacts map