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401 Water Quality Certification

This program is responsible for ensuring compliance with the State Water Quality Regulations for projects that impact inland & coastal waters by fulfilling the requirements of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.  The Act requires the State to certify all Projects that involve dredge, fill, or flow alterations as well as some coastal projects that include site disturbances. Ultimately, 401 has authority over any activity that has the reasonable potential to discharge polltants into waters of the State.  These activities are administered under other programs within the Office of Water Resources, like Wastewater Treatment Discharges under RIPDES, Underground Injection , and Stormwater. 

Activities Regulated under the Water Quality Certification Program?

Dredging incoporates many different regulatory agencies.  The Office of Water evaluates dredge activities for the following:

  • water quality impacts from dredging (the possibility of creating anoxic zones)
  • water quality impacts from scow overflow and turbidity increases
  • the need for shellfish transplants when a dense population is dredged
  • work windows to protect anadromous and resident fisheries
  • disposal locations that may endanger public or private drinking water wells


Harbor Management Plans

For more information contact:




Office of Water Resources
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 222-3961
Fax: (401) 222-3564