The Clean Water Act and Oregon Administrative Rules require that DEQ complete a certification decision within a reasonable period of time, (which shall not exceed one year). However, actual durations of review vary based on the complexity of the project, the quality of the information provided, significance of water quality concerns raised during the public process, and the responsiveness of the applicant. DEQ coordinates with USACE and multiple other agencies (National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Highways Administration, US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, DSL, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Oregon Water Resources Department, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Forestry, etc.). DEQ typically delivers a 401 WQC decision concurrent with the USACE permit decision. This can be as short as 45 days, 2-6 months, or 7-12 months.
Sometimes the permitting process is extended beyond one year. This can happen, for example, when critical information is not available within a year, when the project is modified, or when previously unknown complexities arise. DEQ coordinates with USACE on applications held in abeyance or withdrawn and may request that the applicant withdraw and resubmit a request for 401 WQC.