RAPID/Hydropower/Washington/Water Quality

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Washington Hydropower Water Quality Assessment(14-WA)

In Washington, a hydropower developer may need a Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the Washington Department of Ecology for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensed projects that may discharge dredged or fill material into a water of the United States, including wetlands. Washington 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.

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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

Washington Federal

401 Water Quality Certification Process (401 Certification): The Washington State Department of Ecology reviews and issues 401 Water Quality Certifications (WQC). 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 WQC if the project may result in any discharge into the navigable waters of the United States. 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.
401 Certification Regulatory Agency: Washington Department of Ecology
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 Certificate (WQC) if the project may result in any discharge into the navigable waters of the United States. 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 Water Quality Certificate. The developer must submit a 401 WQC application for any hydropower project requiring a FERC license, license amendment, or re-licensing. Washington may require a 401 WQC for FERC exempted hydropower projects.

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

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