401 Water Quality Certification

Contact
NAME/EMAIL ADDRESSPROGRAMPHONE
David Waterstreet, Program ManagerWatershed Program307-777-6709
Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification and Turbidity Waivers  
Eric Hargett (Cheyenne)CWA Section 401 Certification, Turbidity Waivers307-777-6701
Data Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC)  
Jillian Scott (Cheyenne)Data QA/QC307-777-6372
Nonpoint Source Pollution Program  
Alexandria Jeffers (Cheyenne)Nonpoint Source Program307-777-6733
Surface Water Monitoring Program  
Jeremy Zumberge, Program Supervisor (Sheridan)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-675-5638
Tavis Eddy (Lander)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-335-6957
Eric Hargett (Cheyenne)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-777-6701
Jason Martineau (Sheridan)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-675-5632
Triston Rice (Cheyenne)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-777-6353
Chad Rieger (Sheridan)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-675-5637
Michael Wachtendonk (Lander)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-335-6751
Surface Water Quality Standards  
Lindsay Patterson, Program Supervisor (Cheyenne)Surface Water Quality Standards307-777-7079
Kelsee Hurschman (Cheyenne)Surface Water Quality Standards, Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms307-777-2073
Madeleine Hamel (Cheyenne)Surface Water Quality Standards, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)307-777-7050
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program  
Ron Steg, Program Lead (Lander)Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)307-335-6980
Bret Callaway (Cheyenne)Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)307-777-5802
Water Quality Lab  
Steve Vien, Lab Supervisor (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-7654
Alexandra Cook (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-7151
Marisa Latady (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-6783
Vacant (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-3770
401 Certifications and the Wyoming SQT

401 Water Quality Certifications of FERC Licenses

All new or existing hydroelectric facilities that require licensing or re-licensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), regardless of surface water classification, require an individual 401 Water Quality Certification issued by the WDEQ-WQD. For any discharges that require licensing by FERC, it is recommended the applicant contact the WDEQ-WQD to determine whether a Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certification is needed. If a Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certification is needed, the WDEQ-WQD will work with the project proponent to review pertinent studies, analyses, and plans to develop conditions that ensure compliance with applicable provisions of the CWA and Wyoming surface water quality standards. For these types of activities, the WDEQ-WQD coordinates the 401 Water Quality Certification of the proposed licensing or re-licensing with other appropriate state, federal and local partners. All proposed Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certifications for FERC licenses require a 30-day public notice and comment period.

How to Apply for a 401 Water Quality Certification for USACE Section 404 Permits

USACE Section 404 permits for discharges of dredged or fill material are by the most common federal permit issued in Wyoming that requires a 401 Water Quality Certification from the WDEQ-WQD. For any dredge/fill discharges regulated by the USACE that may require a Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certification, the WDEQ-WQD recommends the applicant follow these steps:

1. Contact the USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office to determine whether the proposed dredge/fill discharge will impact waters of the United States and whether a Section 404 Permit is required.

2. If a Section 404 Permit is required, determine whether the discharge can be authorized under a USACE Nationwide, Regional General or Individual Permit and proceed to step 3. Please note, that if no Section 404 permit from the USACE is required, then no 401 Water Quality Certification from the WDEQ-WQD is required.

3. For coverage under a USACE Nationwide or Regional General Permit, the USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office will determine whether 401 Water Quality Certification has been categorically granted or denied based on the 401 Water Quality Certification Condition and Decision Matrix. For discharges where 401 Water Quality Certification has been categorically granted proceed to step 4.  For discharges where an individual 401 Water Quality Certification is required proceed to step 5.

4. Categorical 401 Certifications - If 401 Water Quality Certification of the discharge has been categorically granted, the USACE Section 404 permit will include the standard certification conditions required by the WDEQ-WQD that are contained within the WDEQ-WQD’s 401 Certification letters for the 2021 USACE Nationwide Permits2017 USACE Nationwide Permits or Wyoming Regional General Permits 9202-06 or 8202-07. These conditions ensure compliance with applicable provisions of the CWA and Wyoming surface water quality standards and are enforceable. The USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office will send a copy of the relevant WDEQ-WQD 401 Certification letter and Section 404 Permit to the applicant.

5. Individual 401 Certifications - If 401 Water Quality Certification of the discharge has been categorically denied, an individual 401 Water Quality Certification is required. The applicant is required to submit a formal certification request to the WDEQ-WQD and USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office concurrently. The process by which an applicant obtains an individual 401 Water Quality Certification is described below:

i. It is strongly recommended that the applicant requests a pre-filing meeting with the WDEQ-WQD prior to submitting the formal certification request. The pre-filing meeting promotes early coordination between the applicant and the WDEQ-WQD to ensure that the required information is provided in the formal certification request and streamlines the review and processing of the certification request. Pre-filing meeting requests can be submitted to deq.wqd401@wyo.gov.  

ii. The applicant must complete the Wyoming 401 Certification Request Form.docx, attach the required information, and submit to both the WDEQ-WQD and USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office. Email addresses for the submission of these materials can be found on the Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certification Request form. Please note that most of the information required to be attached to the form are documents already requested by the USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office when applying for a Section 404 Permit. To minimize delays and ensure efficient review and processing, it is strongly recommended that applicants submit a completed Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certification Request form along with completed USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office Section 404 permit application materials (e.g., pre-construction notification) concurrently to the respective agencies.

iii. Upon receipt of the Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certification Request form, the USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office will notify the WDEQ-WQD in writing as to: 1) the date of receipt of the Wyoming 401 Water Quality Certification Request form, 2) the reasonable period of time for the WDEQ-WQD to act on the certification request, 3) the date upon which waiver of certification will occur if there is no action on the certification request, 4) the specific Section 404 permit(s) that covers the proposed discharge, 5) the DA permit number, and 6) any other pertinent information.

iv. The WDEQ-WQD will review all materials provided in the 401 Water Quality Certification Request and add conditions to the individual 401 Water Quality Certification to ensure compliance with applicable provisions of the CWA, Wyoming surface water quality standards and other state water quality requirements (e.g. TMDLs). Please note that additional information may be requested by the WDEQ-WQD during the review.

v. Where applicable, a public notice is issued (see 401 Certifications of USACE Section 404 Permits for details) followed by review and response to public comments.

vi. If certification is granted, the signed individual 401 Water Quality Certification is issued directly from the WDEQ-WQD to the applicant and the USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office. The conditions of the individual 401 Water Quality Certification then become part of the USACE Section 404 Permit and are enforceable. The USACE-Wyoming Regulatory Office will send the Section 404 Permit to the applicant.

Under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and 40 CFR Part 121, any applicant for a federal license or permit to conduct an activity that may result in a discharge of a pollutant into a water of the United States must obtain a 401 Water Quality Certification from the state certifying authority that ensures the discharge will comply with applicable provisions of the CWA and state surface water quality standards.

The federal license or permit cannot be issued until the 401 Water Quality Certification has been granted or waived by the state certifying authority. All conditions of the 401 Water Quality Certification become conditions of the federal permit or license.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality-Water Quality Division (WDEQ-WQD) is the certifying authority responsible for issuing 401 Water Quality Certifications in Wyoming for the following types of federal permits or licenses that authorize discharges to waters of the United States:

CWA Section 404 establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill materials into waters of the United States.  The USACE Wyoming Regulatory Office is responsible for issuing 404 Dredge and Fill Permits in Wyoming. Common activities that typically require a 404 Dredge and Fill permit include but are not limited to:

  • Placement of fill in a wetland or other water
  • Dredging or excavating bodies of water
  • Stream bank stabilization or alteration
  • Stream channel enhancement or restoration
  • Construction of a bridge, road, utility or pipeline crossing over a waterbody
  • Dredging or excavating potentially contaminated sediments
  • Construction of any type of permanent or temporary dam, causeway, levee or other related structure
  • Construction of a pond, wetland, detention basin or related feature
  • Dock/ramp construction

The federal Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 requires authorization from the USACE for the dredging or disposal of dredged materials, excavation, filling, re-channelization or any other modification of a jurisdictional Section 10 water of the United States. Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the only Section 10 water in Wyoming.

For more information about 401 Water Quality Certification in Wyoming, please see above.

Contact

Eric Hargett
401 Certification Coordinator
307-777-6701
 eric.hargett@wyo.gov