401 Water Quality Certification Program

401 Water Quality Certification Program

Various permits may be needed during the recovery process, such as Water Quality Certifications through the Clean Water Act Sections 401 and 404 may also be required.  

The §401 Water Quality Certification Program of the DOW is the Commonwealth’s review and authorization of selected federal licenses and permits.  Any person, firm, or agency (including federal, state, and local government agencies) planning to work in jurisdictional waters of the United States, or dump or place dredged or fill material in waters of the U.S should contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) office in your area and the DOW, Water Quality Certification Section to obtain a permit.

Link to DOW website §401 Water Quality Certification – Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet


Presentation on Water Quality Certification at 2022 KAMM Conference

Clean Water Act Section 401 -Water Quality Certification – Samantha Vogeler, DOW


Examples of federal licenses and permits subject to §401 Water Quality Certification

Examples of federal licenses and permits subject to §401 Water Quality Certification include Clean Water Act §404 permits for discharge of dredged or fill material issued by the USACE, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hydropower licenses, and Rivers and Harbors Act §9 and §10 permits for activities that have a potential discharge in navigable waters issued by the USACE.  A §401 Water Quality Certification from the Commonwealth of Kentucky affirms that the discharge will not violate Kentucky’s water quality standards.

Examples of activities that may require a certification

Examples of activities that may require a certification from the Division of Water, Water Quality Certification Section 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 of any surface waters 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

Learn more on the EPA’s website

Applying Section 401 Certification to Protect Wetlands.














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