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Montana Short-term Water Quality Standard for Turbidity (318 Authorization) (6-MT-f)

Short-term Water Quality Standard for Turbidity (318 Authorization) Process

Montana protects its water quality and protects against sedimentation through regulation of turbidity standards. Any construction that may violate state turbidity standards requires 318 Authorization.

Activities that require authorization include any activity in any state water that will cause unavoidable short term violations of water quality standards. “State water” includes any body of water, irrigation system, or drainage system, either surface or underground, including wetlands, except for irrigation water where the water is used up within the irrigation system and the water is not returned to other state water.

The purposes of the 318 authorization include:

  • To provide a short term water quality turbidity standard for construction activities (activities must be carried out in accordance with conditions prescribed by the Department of Environmental Quality).
  • To protect water quality.
  • To minimize sedimentation.

A 318 Authorization must be obtained prior to initiating a project. The authorization may be obtained from the Department of Environmental Quality, or may be waived by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks during its review process under the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act (310 Permit) or the Stream Protection Act (SPA 124 Permit).

6-MT-f.1 - Has MFWP waived the requirement under the 310 Permit review or SPA 124

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks may waive the 318 Authorization requirement during the review for Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act and the Stream Protection Act.

6-MT-f.2 - No permit needed; continue with project

If Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has waived the 318 Authorization requirement, the developer may continue with project.

6-MT-f.3 - Application for 318 Authorization

The application may be individual or a joint application. The joint application includes the 310 Permit, SPA 124 Permit, Floodplain Permit, Section 404 Permit, Section 10 Permit, 318 Authorization, 401 Certification and Navigable Rivers Land Use License or Easement. Typically the permit process takes between 30 and 60 days. The fee for 318 Authorization is $250.

6-MT-f.4 - Review application materials

The individual 318 Authorization application is reviewed by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The joint application is vetted by all responsible agencies (Local Conservation District, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the local floodplain administrator, US Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Trust Lands Management Division.

6-MT-f.5 - 318 Authorization

The Department of Environmental Quality grants the 318 Authorization with appropriate conditions.

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