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Rules and Regulations

401 and State Water Quality Certification


DEM has updated the application requirements for federal 401 Water Quality Certifications to comply with the April 2022 Supreme Court decision to reinstate the 2020 401 Certification Rule. These requirements include submission of the Supplemental WQC Request Form and a request for a pre-application meeting 30 days before submission of an application. Please see the WQC Application Instructions and Required Enclosures document for details.

View permit status, historical information, and download available documents from our Permit Search below:

This program is responsible for fulfilling the requirements of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (The Act) and ensuring compliance with the State Water Quality Regulations for projects that impact inland and coastal waters. The Act requires the State to certify all projects that require a Federal permit for activities which involve a discharge that may result from dredging or filling as well as some coastal projects associated with marinas. Ultimately, Section 401 has authority over any activity that has the reasonable potential to discharge pollutants into Waters of the United States and some Waters of the State. This program also requires State WQC for projects that are not covered under Section 401, but have the potential to impact inland and coastal waters.

Activities Regulated under the Water Quality Certification Program

Discharges subject to Section 401 (requiring a federal permit)

In accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, any project that may result in a discharge into Waters of the United States requires a WQC. The following types of projects that require a federal permit (and are not covered by a General Permit) also require a 401 WQC from RIDEM:

  • Hydropower and gas pipeline projects (subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing)
  • Projects requiring a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers permitting that are not covered under a General Permit, which may include:
    • New construction or expansion of a marina
    • Fill or dredge in Waters of the U.S.

Discharges subject to State WQC Program

Projects that are not subject to a federal permit but have the potential to result in discharge of pollutants into Waters of the State require a State WQC. These projects include but are not limited to the following:

  • Harbor Management Plans
  • Flow Alterations or Water Withdrawals
  • Stormwater Master Plans

Applying for a Water Quality Certification (WQC)

See the WQC Application Instructions & Required Enclosures for application procedures and requirements for various project and activity types.