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​​​​​​​​§401 Water Quality Certification

Effective November 27, 2023: the final 2023 Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification Improvement Rule: 2023 Rule.​  Application instructions and requirements are on the Apply for Certification​ webpage.

The Division of Water (DOW) §401 Water Quality Certification Program reviews and authorizes selected federal licenses and permits. Any person, firm, or agency (including federal, state, and local government agencies) that plans to work, or to deposit or place dredged or fill material, in streams or wetlands, should contact the local office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the DOW Water Quality Certification Section to obtain a permit.

Examples of federal licenses and permits subject to state §401 Water Quality Certification in​clude those issued by the USACE for discharge of dredged or fill material under Clean Water Act §404 and Rivers and Harbors Act §9 and §10, and hydropower licenses issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). A §401 W​ater Quality Certification from the Commonwealth of Kentucky affirms that the discharge will not violate Kentucky water quality standards.

Examples of activities that may require a certification from the Division of Water include:

  • Placement of dredged or fill materials into waters and/or wetlands
  • Structural fill such as culverts and bridge supports
  • Road and utility crossings
  • Gravel mining/removal
  • In-stream basins
  • Dredging, excavation, channel widening, or straightening
  • Flooding, excavating, draining and/or filling a wetland
  • Bank sloping; stabilization
  • Stream channel relocation
  • Water diversions
  • Divert, obstruct or change the natural flow or bed  stream and/or wetlands
  • Construct a barrier across a stream, channel, or watercourse that will create a reservoir: dams, weirs, dikes, levees or other similar structures

EPA Overview of §401 Certification

Clean Water Act​

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
300 Sower Blvd
Frankfort, KY 40601

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