Washington Bulk Transmission Water Quality Assessment(14-WA)
Developers may be required to obtain several permits related to water quality issues, including permits for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting and Section 401 water quality certification.
Developers must obtain a NPDES Permit from the Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDE) if their project will result in the discharge of pollutants to the waters of Washington from any point source. No pollutants may be discharged to the waters of Washington from any point source, except as authorized by an Individual Permit issued pursuant to WAC 173-220, or as authorized through coverage under a General Permit pursuant to WAC 173-226. A project may qualify for either an Individual NPDES Permit or for a General NPDES Permit. An individual permit is written for a specific discharge at a specific location. An individual permit is highly tailored to regulate the pollutants in the discharge. A general permit is for a group of similar dischargers at diverse locations. Once issued, a general permit may cover many facilities quickly and efficiently. A general permit is appropriate when the characteristics of the discharge are similar and a standard set of permit requirements can effectively provide environmental protection. If the project will involve clearing, grading and/or excavating that will result in the disturbance of one or more acres and discharges stormwater to surface waters, then the developer must obtain a Construction Stormwater General Permit from WSDE. WSDE can also require a construction stormwater permit for any size construction activity discharging stormwater into surface waters if the activity is a significant contributor of pollutants to Washington waters, and WSDE reasonably expects that the project will result in a violation of state water quality standards.
Developers requiring a Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permit, which covers impacts to wetlands and other waters of the United States and is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are required to obtain a Section 401 Water Quality Certification from WSDE. WSDE will review the project to ensure that it will comply with state water quality standards and other aquatic resource protection requirements. Section 401 Water Quality Certification can cover both the construction and operation of the proposed project. In Washington, a single application has been developed to streamline the permitting process for a selection of water-related approvals including Section 401 Water Quality Certification. Developers are required to submit a Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) and associated documents to WSDE for review.
Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply
Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.
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