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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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Water Quality Certification Program
Water Quality Certification

Water quality certification for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are issued by the Wastewater Engineering Bureau. All other water quality certifications are issued by the Watershed Management Bureau. See the Water Quality Certification Program for complete information.

Purpose
To protect surface water quality and uses (such as swimming and aquatic life) by ensuring compliance with state surface water quality standards. Examples of surface waters include lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, wetlands and tidal waters.

Applicability
There are two situations where WQC is required. The first includes projects that require certification under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The second situation includes projects that do not require a WQC under Section 401 of the CWA, but involve the direct surface water withdrawal or diversion of surface water that require registration under RSA 488:3, and were not in active operation as of July 7, 2009. For complete information, see the Water Quality Certification Program.

Statute and Administrative Rules
United States Clean Water Act Title 33 US Code, Chapter 26, Subchapter IV
40 CFR 124.53 State Certification for NPDES permits Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol
RSA 485-A:8 Standards for Classification of Surface Waters of the State
RSA 485-A:12, III and IV Water Pollution And Waste Disposal/Enforcement of Classification
RSA 485-A:13 Water Pollution And Waste Disposal/Water Discharge Permits
RSA 488:3 Water Management/Registration Required
Env-Wq 1700 Surface Water Quality Regulations

Application
WQC Application for all projects excluding NPDES permits Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol

A separate water quality certification application is not required for NPDES permits. Information included in a NPDES permit request, the NPDES fact sheet, and final permit prepared by EPA, is typically sufficient to process water quality certification.

Fee
None.

Processing Time
For FERC license: Typically 180-365 days after receipt of a complete application.
For ACOE Section 404 permit and RSA 485-A:12, IV Withdrawal/Diversion: Typically 60-365 days after receipt of a complete application.
For NPDES permit: Typically 90 days after the draft permit public comment period.

Term/Renewal
For WQCs excluding those for NPDES permits, the WQC expires and a new application must be submitted if 1) the project has not commenced prior to expiration of other permits cited in the WQC such as the DES Alteration of Terrain and/or Wetlands permits; or 2), the federal permitting agency does not allow the activity to continue under the terms of the expired federal license or permit.

For NPDES permits, WQC expires if the NPDES permit expires unless the NPDES permit has been administratively extended by EPA.

Modification/Amendments
For WQCs excluding those for NPDES permits, provide the Water Quality Certification Program with written notification of the proposed modifications to the construction or operation of the Project to determine whether a new or modified WQC is required. After notice and opportunity for hearing, the Water Quality Certification Program may modify any WQC to include more specific conditions to ensure compliance with surface water quality standards.

For NPDES permits, WQC expires if the NPDES permit expires, unless the NPDES permit has been administratively extended by EPA.

Transferability
Provide written notification of transfer to determine whether a new or modified certification will be required.

Appeals
Any person aggrieved by a final decision can appeal to the Water Council in accordance with RSA 21 0:7.

Status of Current Applications
Status of 401 Certifications excluding those for NPDES permits

Status of 401 Certifications for NPDES permits: Stergios Spanos at (603) 271-6637 or stergios.spanos@des.nh.gov or Wastewater Engineering Bureau

More Information
For more complete information, see the Water Quality Certification Program.

Contact Us
For 401 Certifications (excluding those for NPDES permits): Owen David at (603) 271-0699 or owen.david@des.nh.gov.

For 401 Certifications for NPDES permits: Stergios Spanos at (603) 271-6637 or stergios.spanos@des.nh.gov or Wastewater Engineering Bureau

 

 

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