Water Quality Certifications – CWA §401

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is the lead state agency that administers the Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification program in Oklahoma. The purpose of these certification reviews is to determine whether a proposed discharge will comply with Oklahoma water quality standards. DEQ conducts Clean Water Act Section 401 certification reviews of projects requiring a federal discharge permit.  The most common federal permits in Oklahoma requiring 401 certifications are Clean Water Act Section 404 permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. Activities in waters of the United States regulated under this program include fill for development, water resource projects (such as dams and levees), infrastructure development (such as highways and airports) and mining projects. CWA Section 404 requires a permit before dredged or fill material may be discharged into waters of the United States, unless the activity is exempt from Section 404 regulation.

Oklahoma DEQ does not issue CWA Section 404 permits. Section 404 permits for the State are the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District Regulatory Office. Questions regarding Section 404 permits should be directed to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Tulsa District Regulatory Office

401 Certification Information

There is no application form for a 401 certification. DEQ 401 certification reviews may only be requested by federal permitting agencies.

A $100 Fee is charged for DEQ Water Quality Certifications. This fee is paid to DEQ by the permit applicant. Upon receipt of a request for 401 certification review by a federal agency, DEQ will send a fee invoice to the permit applicant. DEQ’s certification review will not begin until the applicant’s payment has been received.

DEQ Rules for Water Quality Certifications

DEQ rules provide the State’s requirements for water quality certifications. OAC 252:611-3 addresses the types of federal applications requiring certification, requirements for certification, certification fee, public notice requirements, types of certification, and duration of certification.

The current rules are available in Subchapter 3 of OAC 252:611.

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