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401 Application Process

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Standard Individual Review Steps Include:

An Applicant submits a completed Joint Permit Application (JPA) to USACE and, DSL, and DEQ. Applicants may submit a copy of the JPA to DEQ through Your DEQ Online to ensure a timely review. Visit Your DEQ Online Help page to learn more, access training materials and see the upcoming schedule of live training webinars on how to register with YDO. Applicants may also request a pre-application consultation with the USACE, DSL, DEQ and other agencies 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 on Department of State Lands website.

USACE will determine a permit type (Individual, Nationwide, or RGP) as applicable. 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. DEQ public notices are posted through the Your DEQ Online public portal. 

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.

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. 

DEQ has up to one year to issue a decision.

If approved, the applicant and USACE receive a 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) with that affirms 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). 

401 Rule - Updated April 11, 2022

On Oct. 21, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order which vacated and remanded the EPA's 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule. This vacatur was applied nationwide and required a temporary return to the EPA's 1971 Rule.

On April 6, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision reinstating the 2020 EPA 401 Rule. DEQ will return to implementing all requirements and procedures of the 2020 EPA 401 Rule until further notice. As of April 7, 2022, all applicants for new 401 certification are required to submit to DEQ a pre-filing meeting request at least 30-days prior to a request for certification. Forms for both of these requests can be found on DEQ's 401 Resources page and should be submitted through Your DEQ Online.

DEQ is awaiting further procedural guidance from EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in addition to information regarding plans to finalize a new certification rule. Until that time, procedural requirements under the 2020 rule are active. Please contact the 401 Program with any questions regarding these requirements or the submittal process using Your DEQ Online.

Program contacts

Jeff Brittain 
Program Coordinator

Haley Teach
Individual Certifications: Northwest Region

Chance Plunk 

Individual Certifications: Western Region

Ari Sindel
Nationwide Certifications - Statewide