Basic Information on CWA Section 401 Certification
Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a federal agency may not issue a permit or license to conduct any activity that may result in any discharge into waters of the United States unless a state or authorized tribe where the discharge would originate issues a Section 401 water quality certification verifying compliance with existing water quality requirements or waives the certification requirement. Some of the major federal licenses and permits subject to Section 401 include:
- Section 402 and 404 permits (in non-delegated states),
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hydropower licenses, and
- Rivers and Harbors Act Section 9 and 10 permits.
A federal agency may not issue a license or permit without a certification or waiver from the state or authorized tribe where the discharge originates.