Water Quality Division’s Role in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies, prior to making decisions, to evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions and to make these evaluations available for public review and comment.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality/Water Quality Division (WDEQ/WQD) participates in the NEPA process as a cooperating agency, providing technical expertise to ensure that potential impacts to the quality of waters of the state are adequately evaluated and that Wyoming’s water quality statutes, rules, regulations, and other requirements are met.
WDEQ/WQD generally recommends federal agencies evaluate and minimize potential impacts to waters of the state, with particular attention to:
- Waters designated as Outstanding Waters (Class 1) in the Wyoming Surface Water Quality Standards
- Designated Wild and Scenic Rivers
- Sensitive aquifers
- Public water supply source water areas
- Nonpoint source pollution reduction project areas
- Surface waters that have been assessed as either meeting or not meeting their water quality standards by WDEQ/WQD
WDEQ/WQD has also compiled a summary document that describes the most common permits and water quality requirements that may apply to proposed NEPA projects.
DEQ also reminds federal agencies that in addition to overseeing development and enforcement of Wyoming’s Water Quality Rules and Regulations, WDEQ/WQD also implements portions of the Federal Clean Water Act, including:
- Development of surface water quality standards under Section 303
- Inventorying water quality and identification of impaired waters under Sections 303 and 305
- Development of total maximum daily loads for impaired waters under Section 303
- Discharge permitting under Section 402
- Water quality certifications under Section 401
- Addressing nonpoint sources of pollution under Section 319
Contact Madeleine Hamel (307-777-7050, firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.