As of July 2013, DEQ has instituted a 401 water quality certification fee structure for projects requiring a Section 401 Dredge/Fill Certification. Previously, DEQ based fees on the amount of material removed or filled; fees are now based more closely with staff labor costs.
Since 2004, projects below a certain dredge/fill threshold and certain activities were exempt from fees. In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed law that eliminated fee exemptions. The new fee structure will help improve customer service and increase efficiency for applicants.
While developing the new fee structure, DEQ received input from and advisory committee that included representatives from the federal government, state government, local governments, environmental groups and trade associations.
DEQ will assign projects to one of five tiers, and invoice based on that tier.
OAR 340-048-0055 contains the updated fee schedule for certifications.
How do I know at which tier DEQ will review my project?
Generally, tier 1 projects are small and less complicated and require minimal review time. Tier 4 projects are generally large and complex projects. DEQ typically reviews one or two Tier 4 type projects per year. DEQ based tiers on estimated hours of staff review time, and several other factors including:
Water quality impacts
Level of required public participation
Level of agency coordination
Post construction stormwater management
Level of technical assistance
Compensatory mitigation requirements
Sediment evaluation framework
Alternative analysis and site visits
Level of project documentation (evaluations and findings)
Review of National Environmental Policy Act documentation, including an Environmental
Assessment and/or Environmental Impact Statement
DEQ staff will perform an initial review of proposed projects during the 30-day U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/DEQ public notice period to determine the appropriate tier. DEQ will send an invoice to the applicant when DEQ receives all information necessary to assign a tier.