Water Quality Permits

​​Applying for 401 certification

EPA now requires all applicants to submit a pre-filing meeting request to DEQ prior to submittal of the application. The applicant must submit application directly to DEQ 30 days after the prefilling request.

  • At least 30 days prior to submitting a certification request, the applicant shall request a pre-filing meeting with DEQ.

    Submit a pre-filing request to DEQ

    DEQ will determine if a meeting is necessary and coordinate further with the applicant and other agencies as needed.
  • At least 30 days after a pre-filing meeting is requested, the applicant shall submit a certification request to DEQ and the USACE.​ In addition to submitting the Joint Permit Application, a certification request for an individual license or permit must include the following:
    1. Identify the project proponent(s) and a point of contact
    2. Identify the proposed project
    3. Identify the applicable federal license or permit
    4. Identify the location and nature of any potential discharge that may result from the proposed project and the location of receiving waters
    5. Include a description of any methods and means proposed to monitor the discharge and the equipment or measures planned to treat, control, or manage the discharge
    6. Include a list of all other federal, interstate, tribal, state, territorial, or local agency authorizations required for the proposed project, including all approvals or denials already received
    7. Include documentation that a prefiling meeting request was submitted to the certifying authority at least 30 days prior to submitting the certification request
    8. Contain the following statement: ‘The project proponent hereby certifies that all information contained herein is true, accurate, and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief’ 
    9. Contain the following statement: ‘The project proponent hereby requests that the certifying authority review and take action on this CWA 401 certification request within the applicable reasonable period of time.

To expedite the review process, DEQ recommends completing and submitting the following items with a certification request:

  • ​A signed Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) as found in Section 11 of the JPA.
  • A post-construction stormwater management plan (SWMP) for projects resulting in new or redeveloped impervious area

DEQ may request additional information to determine if the proposal meets water quality standards and compliance with applicable rules and regulations. OAR 340-048-0020 identifies the required elements for a complete application for a 401 WQC, according to state rules.

Review process

DEQ’s review of a proposed project begins once an applicant submits a certification request, 30 days or more following a pre-filing meeting request. The USACE will continue to issue a public notice on behalf of DEQ, during the review process. DSL has a separate permitting and review process from the USACE, however DEQ coordinates with both agencies as a project is reviewed.

  1. ​Submit a pre-filing meeting request to DEQ 30 days prior to submitting your certification request
  2. When at least 30 days have passed, submit completed Joint Permit Application (JPA) concurrently to DEQ and your Corps County Project Manager. Submit application materials directly to the 401 Program's applications inbox (401applications@deq.state.or.us). Please note there is a 10MB agency server limit. For larger files, please consider compressing documents, sending in batches, or hosting on a file transfer site.
  3. The Corps determines permit type (Individual or Nationwide) and will establish a reasonable period of time for DEQ's review. 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.
  4. Once a reasonable period of time is established DEQ will invoice the applicant and begin review. DEQ will contact you if additional information is needed. DEQ intends to issue a Nationwide 401 WQC decision to each applicant within 90 days of the USACE determination, pending receipt of the review fee and sufficient documentation to ensure compliance with Oregon's water quality rules and laws, including a signed Land Use Compatibility Statement (found in Section 11 of the Joint Permit Application, or the DEQ LUCS web page and, if required, a completed post-construction stormwater plan (please see 2021 Post-Construction Stormwater Management Guidelines).  
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. NPDES 1200-C Stormwater Discharge Permits).*

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.

Additional resources for 401 projects

Program contacts

Sara Slater, Program Coordinator

Nationwide certifications

​Individual certifications Northwest and Eastern Region

Individual certifications Western Region

Map of DEQ Offices