RAPID/Hydropower/Colorado/Water Quality

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Colorado Hydropower Water Quality Assessment(14-CO)

In Colorado, a hydropower developer may need a 401 Water Quality Certification from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensed projects that may discharge into navigable waters of the U.S. Colorado may also require water quality compliance conditions for FERC exempted hydropower projects pursuant to the State’s 30(c) power under the Federal Power Act. A developer may also participate in Colorado’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Program to implement best management practices and reduce nonpoint source pollution into a watershed. Water Quality

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Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Colorado Federal

401 Water Quality Certification Process (401 Certification): The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) reviews and issues Water Quality Certifications pursuant to Colorado Code of Regulations 5 CCR 1002-82, 401 Water Quality Certification Regulationand Colorado – C.R.S. 25-8-302, Duties of Water Quality Control Division. Under Section 401(a)(1) of the CWA (33 U.S.C. § 1341), states have the authority to review and approve, condition, waive, or deny a 401 WQC . See, also Colorado Code of Regulations 5 CCR 1002-82, 401 Water Quality Certification Regulation and Colorado – C.R.S. 25-8-302, Duties of Water Quality Control Division.
401 Certification Regulatory Agency: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
401 Certification Threshold: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.) requires developers, subject to a federal license or permit (i.e., Clean Water Act Section 404 permit, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license, etc.) to obtain a 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) if the project may result in any discharge into navigable waters of the U.S. Water Qualification Certificates issued by the WQCD apply to both the construction and operation of the project for which a federal license or permit is required and apply to all water quality impacts associated with the project, including wetland impact. [1]

Contact Information

Edit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Section 404 Regulatory Contacts


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Edit Bureau of Reclamation
Hydropower Program: Power Resources Office Directory


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Edit Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Regional Office Hydropower Contacts


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List of Reference Sources

  1. [Colorado Code of Regulations 5 CCR 1002-82, 401 Water Quality Certification Regulation
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