Blanket Section 401 WQC

Blanket Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) for Certain 2017 Department of the Army (DA) Nationwide Permits (NWPs) (WQC0901)

Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, the Department of Health (DOH), Clean Water Branch (CWB) is responsible for issuing or denying Section 401 WQCs for any project/activity that requires a federal license or permit and may result in a water pollutant discharge to State surface waters. The DOH-CWB issued the Blanket Section 401 WQC, which became effective March 2, 2018, and was modified effective June 11, 2020 to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for certain 2017 DA NWPs. A public notice of the proposed modification was made on February 28, 2020, followed by a 30-day public comment period. The CWB’s response to public comments can be found here. A copy of the Modified Blanket Section 401 WQC and additional information can be found below.

Modified Blanket Section 401 WQC (WQC0901)

June 2020 Modified Blanket WQC (WQC0901) Information

Under the Modified Blanket WQC, eligible applicants do not need to submit any applications, documents, or reports to the CWB. The general conditions outlined in the Modified Blanket Section 401 WQC shall be incorporated as conditions in the issued federal permit or license.

The following NWPs and activities are covered under the Modified Blanket Section 401 WQC and include:

  • NWP 2 – Structures in Artificial Canals
  • NWP 3 – Maintenance
  • NWP 4 – Fish and Wildlife Harvesting, Enhancement, and Attraction Devices and Activities
  • NWP 5 – Scientific Measurement Devices
  • NWP 6 – Survey Activities
  • NWP 7 – Outfall Structures and Associated Intake Structures
  • NWP 9 – Structures in Fleeting and Anchorage Areas
  • NWP 10 – Mooring Buoys
  • NWP 11 – Temporary Recreational Structures
  • NWP 12 – Utility Line Activities
  • NWP 13 – Bank Stabilization
  • NWP 14 – Linear Transportation Projects
  • NWP 18 – Minor Discharge
  • NWP 19 – Minor Dredging
  • NWP 28 – Modifications of Existing Marinas
  • NWP 31 – Maintenance of Existing Flood Control Facilities
  • NWP 35 – Maintenance Dredging of Existing Basins
  • Letters of Permission – Section 10 only activities with no discharge of fill material
  • Any activity conducted in compliance with DOH pre-approved Standard Operating Procedures

The following NWPs and activities do not require a Section 401 WQC:

  • NWP 1 – Aids to Navigation
  • NWP 8 – Oil and Gas Structures on the Outer Continental Shelf
  • Projects in response to a public emergency proclaimed by the President of the United States or Governor of Hawaii where Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 342D has been suspended
  • Any emergency project as determined by the Director of Health
  • Projects granted an exemption under Act 048 of 2017 (temporary exemption of certain bridge rehabilitation projects)
  • Activities exempt under CWA, Section 404(f)(1)
  • Directional drilling under a waterbody where entry and exit pits are located on land and all slurry/spoils/runoff is contained on land
  • Structures over a waterbody where debris and other pollutants associated with the installation, construction, and operation do not enter the waterbody
  • Installation of temporary Best Management Practices (BMPs) with inert material in State waters, excluding material used to divert or dam stream flow
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act actions with oversight from DOH Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office and/or EPA
  • DOH HEER response actions
  • Bridge inspections
  • Improvements or modifications to Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation permitted existing offshore moorings installed prior to October 4, 2017
  • Coral transplant with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oversight
  • Fireworks where visible debris is collected after event
  • Lanterns and rubber duckies collected after event
  • Ashes from funeral ceremonies 3 nautical miles away from shore
  • After-The-Fact applications for USACE POH enforcement actions (DOH has decided not to process After-The-Fact applications so the USACE POH can proceed with their enforcement action). This does not absolve applicants from possible enforcement actions from CWB in the event of unpermitted discharges to State waters.

All projects or activities that are not covered by the Modified Blanket Section 401 WQC or cannot comply with the conditions of the Modified Blanket Section 401 WQC and are required to have a Section 401 WQC, must apply for an Individual Section 401 WQC from the CWB. You are required to complete and submit the CWB Individual Section 401 WQC Form. This application is available at: https://eha-cloud.doh.hawaii.gov/epermit/. Type “Section 401 WQC” in the Form Search field. Click on the link to the “CWB Individual Section 401 WQC Form.” Read the instructions and complete the form.

If you have any questions about a proposed project/activity’s eligibility for coverage under the Modified Blanket WQC, please contact the USACE at (808) 835‑4303.