RAPID/Hydropower/California/Water Quality

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California Hydropower Water Quality Assessment(14-CA)

In California, a hydropower developer may need a Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the California State Water Resources Control Board(SWRCB) for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensed projects or projects that require a Clean Water Act 404 permit to discharge dredge or fill material into a water of the United States, including wetlands. California may also issue water quality compliance conditions for FERC exempted hydropower projects pursuant to the State’s 30(c) power under the Federal Power Act.Water Quality

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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.

Permitting at a Glance

401 Water Quality Certification Process (401 Certification): The developer must submit a Section 401 Water Quality Certification Application to the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) where there is an appropriation of water, a hydroelectric facility licensed or exempted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), or any other diversion of water for domestic, irrigation, power, municipal, industrial or other beneficial use, if such activity may result in any discharge to a navigable water of the United States. 23 CCR 3855.
401 Certification Regulatory Agency: California State Water Resources Control Board
401 Certification Threshold: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.) requires developers subject to a federal license or permit to obtain a 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) if the project may result in any discharge into the navigable waters of the United States.

Contact Information

Edit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Section 404 Regulatory Contacts

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Edit Bureau of Reclamation
Hydropower Program: Power Resources Office Directory

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Edit Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Regional Office Hydropower Contacts

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