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 permit and 401 Water Quality Certification. The Nationwide Permits cover 54 categories of activities. These are issued every five years.

What is DEQ’s role?

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

The 2017 Letter of Intent explains how DEQ processes specific USACE Nationwide categories.

The Nationwide 401 Water Quality Certification template  is the certification document DEQ will issue to the applicant if a project is approved under a Nationwide 401 WQC.

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

Review process

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 USACE will continue to assess what nationwide category is appropriate for each project, and notify DEQ of its determination. Once DEQ receives this determination 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 2018 Post-Construction Stormwater Management Guidelines).  

Program contacts

Sara Slater, Program Coordinator

Nationwide certifications

Individual certifications