Water Quality Permits

​What is a Nationwide Permit?

Nationwide Permits are a type of general permit issued by the USACE on a nationwide basis for activities having minimal impacts on the environment. Projects that propose work in water, including in streams and wetlands, may require a USACE Section 404 permit and 401 Water Quality Certification. The Nationwide Permits cover 56 categories of activities.

What is DEQ’s role?

Starting in March 2017, for projects authorized under a USACE nationwide category, DEQ began issuing 401 water quality certifications directly to applicants. DEQ must issue a Section 401 WQC before work can be implemented for projects that are processed under the USACE Nationwide Permits. Applicants that qualify for a USACE Nationwide Permit may be granted an expedited 401 WQC from DEQ. Proposed projects not covered under the USACE nationwide categories require an Individual WQC.

On March 15, 2021, the USACE reissued 12 Nationwide Permit categories and added four new categories under the 2021 Nationwide Permits. These 16 Nationwide Permit categories will be reviewed under the 2021 Nationwide 401 Water Quality Certification Letter of Intent and template. The 40 permit categories not renewed on March 15, 2021 remain unchanged under the 2017 rules.

  • 12. Oil and Gas Pipelines

  • 21. Surface Coal Mining 42. Recreational Facilities 

  • 29. Residential Developments 

  • 39. Commercial and Institutional Developments

  • 40. Agricultural Activities 

  • 43. Stormwater Management Facilities 

  • 44. Mining Activities 

  • 48. Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities 

  • 50. Underground Coal Mining Activities 

  • 51. Land-Based Renewable Energy Generation Facilities 

  • 52. Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects

  • 55. Seaweed Mariculture Activities

  • 56. Finfish Mariculture Activities

  • 57. Electric Utility Line and Telecommunication Activities

  • 58. Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances

View the 2021 Nationwide Permits

Typically, expedited 401 WQC projects are reviewed at the Tier 1 Review Fee level of $985.

Review process

  • Submit a pre-filing meeting request to DEQ 30 days prior to submitting your certification request

  • When at least 30 days have passed, submit your certification request concurrently to DEQ and your Corps County Project Manager.

  • All applicants should 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.

  • The Corps will establish a reasonable period of time for the certifying authority's review. 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).  

Program contacts

Sara Slater, Program Coordinator
541-633-2007

Nationwide certifications

Individual certifications, Northwest and Eastern Region

Individual certifications, Western Region

Map of DEQ Offices