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Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for Dredge and Fill Projects


Matt Smar
Federal Consistency Specialist, Water Resources Division

Under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), EGLE reviews federal permit and license applications for projects that may result in a discharge to Michigan’s waters of the United States. The purpose of the review is to determine whether EGLE can certify that the project will comply with Michigan’s water quality requirements. Many of these requirements are in Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, and the Water Quality Standards in the Part 31 rules.

The federal agency cannot issue the permit or license unless EGLE either grants or waives water quality certification. EGLE may require special certification conditions that the federal agency must incorporate into the permit or license. The federal agency cannot issue the permit or license if EGLE denies water quality certification for the project.

The Water Resources Division in EGLE conducts CWA Section 401 water quality certification reviews. The applicant for the federal permit or license is responsible for requesting the water quality certification from EGLE. Generally, a project that requires a water quality certification also requires a permit from the Water Resources Division. In these cases, submission of the administratively complete EGLE permit application through MiEnviro serves as the water quality certification request. The applicant is not required to request a prefiling meeting prior to submitting the EGLE permit application.

If an EGLE permit application is not submitted for the project, a prefiling meeting request submitted at least 30 days prior to submitting the water quality certification request is recommended. The water quality certification request must contain the information described in 40 CFR 121.5(a)

Information on Section 401 water quality certification for Hydropower Projects

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act Section 401