Water Quality Certifications

Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires the certification of all federal licenses and permits in which there is a “discharge of fill material into navigable waters”. The certification is used to determine whether an activity, as described in the federal license or permit, will impact established site specific water quality standards. A water quality certification (WQC) is not a permit to perform the activity and all federal licenses or permits cannot be issued without it; the most common federal license or permit requiring certification is the Corps of Engineers 404 permit.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New Orleans District (MVN) processes permit applications subject to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  To comply with the requirements of the new CWA 401 Certification Rule, MVN requests that project proponents (i.e. Applicants) continue to follow the established procedures for submitting a MVN permit application.  The procedures are different depending upon whether the project is located within the coastal zone or outside of the coastal  zone, but both procedures include options for electronic submission.   

These procedures are located at: https://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permits/

Once your permit application is received, MVN will provide you with additional instructions if the proposed work is not already covered by a CWA Section 401 general water quality certification.

Regulations for issuing Water Quality Certifications can be found at LAC 33:IX.Chapter 15.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Water Quality Certifications

The following links are for the permitting agencies:

For any questions or comments about the Water Quality Certification process please call Elizabeth Hill at (225)219-3225, or send e-mail to DEQ-WaterQualityCertifications@la.gov