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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Water Quality

Section 401 Certification

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Overview of DEQ 401 Certification Process

DEQ’s review of a proposed project begins once the project is put on Public Notice by the USACE. This public notice also includes DEQ’s public notice. DSL has a separate permitting and review process from the USACE but DEQ coordinates with both agencies as the project is reviewed. DEQ has up to one year to make a decision. Steps involved include:

  1. An Applicant submits a completed Joint Permit Application (JPA) to USACE and DSL. Applicants should consider sending a copy of the JPA to DEQ to ensure timely review. Applicants may also request a pre-application consultation with the USACE, DSL, DEQ and other agencies as necessary.

  2. USACE determines permit type (Individual or Nationwide)
    If a project is reviewed under an Individual Permit, the USACE will put the project out for on a 30-day Public Notice, which includes DEQ’s public notice. The Public Notice will include information on how the public may submit comments and questions to the USACE and DEQ. If the project does not require a Public Notice by the USACE, DEQ may still be required to put the project out on a 35- day Public Notice. Please contact DEQ for more information.

  3. DEQ staff will review project applications, and evaluate impacts. Staff will provide comments and request additional information in addition to notifying the applicant of the review fee that will be assessed. View our fee page for more information.

  4. DEQ staff will continue to evaluate the information provided by the applicant. Using information gathered during the review process and received via public comment, DEQ staff will determine whether a project is consistent with state water quality standards. DEQ will work with an applicant to modify the project if necessary to ensure compliance with these standards.

  5. The applicant and USACE receive a 401 Water Quality Certification with that confirms the project will meet water quality standards.

Please note: Projects must meet all other agency requirements and other applicable permits from DEQ (e.g. 1200-C Stormwater Discharge Permits)

For more information:

Additional Resources for 401 Projects

Low Impact Development in Western Oregon Manual - Guidance template for drafting stormwater management plans for jurisdictions in Western Oregon

DEQ Total Maximum Daily Loads Program - information about TMDLs by basin and Water Quality Management Plans

303(d) List and Water Quality Assessment Database - information about surface water quality

DEQ NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permits - information about 1200-C and 1200-Z and other stormwater discharge permits

Oregon Administrative Rules

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Natural Resource Conservation Service

Additional Resources for Specific Project Types

Integrated Pest Management Program

If the proposal involves widespread application of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides near water (e.g. golf course, playing fields, parks) an Integrated Pest Management plan, which incorporates limitations on banned or restricted chemicals, is required.

For Dredging Projects

Portland Sediment Evaluation Team Memorandum

Any project that involves dredging, dam removal, or any other kind of discharge of sediment will require coordination with the PSET team. DEQ will require a copy of the PSET memorandum prior to issuance. Protocols for sediment characterization and chemical analysis have been developed by a multi-agency workgroup led by the USACE; DEQ is a member of this group.

DEQ Stormwater Management Plan Submission Guidelines
For any project that involves an increase in impervious surface.


[print version]

For more information about DEQ's 401 Removal/Fill Certification Program, contact the 401 WQ Certification Coordinator by email.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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