Temporary Turbidity Variance. Wyoming’s Water Quality Rules and Regulations, Chapter 1, Wyoming Surface Water Quality Standards, include turbidity criteria for waters designated as fisheries and/or drinking water supplies. Any type of construction activity within these streams is likely to result in exceedances of these criteria.  In accordance with Section 23(c)(ii) of Chapter 1, the administrator of the WQD may authorize temporary increases in turbidity above the numeric criteria in Section 23(a) in response to an individual application for a specific activity. In circumstances where a project has the potential to exceed the turbidity criteria, a waiver is recommended. An application must be submitted and a waiver approved by the administrator before work begins. This process generally takes about 30 days. Please contact Bret Callaway (307-777-5802) for more information.

Turbidity is an important test for water quality that falls under the Watershed Protection Program’s jurisdiction. See Applications under Resources for the Turbidity Waiver Application; see Guidance under Resources for instructions on how to fill out the application.

Projects Requiring 404 Permits

Any project involving a discharge of dredge or fill of material into waters of the U.S. requires a 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – even if the disturbance is temporary. Any time work occurs within waters of the US, a 404 permit may be required.  Additionally, a number of activities such as dam construction will require section 401 certification from the state. If you are not sure whether your project is subject to these regulations, please contact the Corps (307-772-2300) for specific information regarding jurisdiction and requirements.

A Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification is required for any activity or project that requires a federal license or permit which may result in a discharge of dredge or fill material into waters of the United States. Federal licenses/permits include Clean Water Act Section 404 dredge and fill permits and Rivers and Harbors Act Sections 9&10 permits issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers as well as hydroelectric power projects licensed by FERC. 401 Certifications includes conditions that must be followed to ensure that the discharge will be in compliance with applicable state surface water quality standards (Chapter 1 of the Wyoming Water Quality Rules and Regulations) and any applicable water quality improvement plans (total maximum daily loads). The conditions of the 401 Certification become conditions of the federal permit or license. Please contact Eric Hargett (307-777-6701) for additional information.

Several other WDEQ permits may apply, depending on the eventual scope of the project.

Storm Water Permit. A storm water permit is required any time project construction results in clearing, grading, or otherwise disturbing one or more acres. The disturbed area does not need to be contiguous. The permit is required for surface disturbances associated with construction of the project, access roads, construction of wetland mitigation sites, borrow and stockpiling areas, equipment staging and maintenance areas and any other disturbed areas associated with construction. A general permit has been established for this purpose and either the project sponsor or general contractor is responsible for filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) and complying with the provisions of the general permit. The NOI should be filed no later than 30 days prior to the start of construction activity. Please contact Barb Sahl (307-777-7570) for additional information. 

Discharge Permit. Any surface water discharges to “waters of the state”, including discharges from cofferdam dewatering, discharges from hydrostatic pipeline testing, or discharge of other waste waters must be permitted under the Wyoming Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WYPDES) program. Waters of the state include rivers, streams, dry draws, wetlands, lakes, reservoirs and even stock ponds. The WQD has been delegated authority to issue discharge permits under the federal Clean Water Act. A WYPDES permit will require sampling and incorporate effluent limits for any constituents of concern. Leah Coleman (307-777-7093) can provide additional information.

Hydrostatic Test Water Permit. Water from hydrostatic pipeline testing may be applied to roads or land surfaces if it will not reach a water of the state, meets certain water quality standards, and a permit is obtained from the WQD. Please contact Paul Lohman (307-777-7088) for land application information, or Dennis Lamb (307-473-3452) for road application information.

Spill Reporting. Chapter 4 of the Wyoming Water Quality Rules and Regulations requires that the WQD be notified of spills or releases of chemicals and petroleum products. To report a spill, see http://spills.adm.apps.deq.wyoming.gov/.

Septic System Permit. Septic system permits are required for installation of septic tanks and leachfields, or for any major repair or replacement of a septic system. Please contact Paul Lohman (307-777-7088) for more information regarding septic systems.

Permits/Authorizations from other Agencies:

Water Supply Wells. The Wyoming State Engineer (SEO) has regulations governing the sanitary construction of water supply wells and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) has regulations governing the siting and construction of water supply wells proximal to oil and gas exploration and production facilities.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).  Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra/quagga mussels is a priority for the State of Wyoming; in many cases, the intentional or unintentional spread of organisms from one body of water to another would be considered a violation of State statute and Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Regulation.  To prevent the spread of AIS, there are several inspection and transportation requirements for equipment entering the state, operating in waters of the state and/or used to transport surface water. Further information on AIS regulations and requirements can be found at: wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS.

Baseline Groundwater Monitoring. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission requires operators to submit a baseline sampling, analysis and monitoring plan for water sources in the vicinity of proposed oil and gas wells. Further information is available from the WOGCC http://wogcc.state.wy.us/.


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