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Nationwide 401 Water Quality Certification

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. 

View the 2021 Nationwide Permits on the Federal Register
  • 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

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Typically, expedited 401 WQC 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 through Your DEQ Online. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will 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 the applicant if additional information is needed. DEQ intends to issue a Nationwide 401 water quality certification (WQC) decision to each applicant within 90 days of the USACE determination, pending receipt of 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 version found here and, if required, a completed post-construction stormwater plan (please see the 2021 Post-Construction Stormwater Management Guidelines).   

For more information about DEQ's Land Use Compatibility Statement visit the LUCS page

Program contacts

Jeff Brittain 
Program Coordinator
503-229-5395  

Haley Teach 
Individual Certifications: Northwest and Eastern Regions 
503-229-5051  

Chance Plunk 

Individual Certifications: Western Region
541-972-5463

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