General permits issued by the federal government authorizing discharges into waters of the United States, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permits, require a water quality certification from the state. The state may certify, condition or deny certification for the general permit.
Projects authorized by the federal government under general permits that have been certified by the state do not require an application to the state for water quality certification. Certification is granted upon receipt of the federal permit.
If a general permit is conditioned or has a conditional water quality certification, projects receiving that general federal permit and meeting ALL the conditions of the general water quality certification, do not require an individual application to the state for water quality certification. The conditional certification issued (typically for five years) in response to the federal general permit serves as the water quality certification and the applicant is responsible for complying with all the conditions of the general certification. If a project or activity will not meet all the conditions, then an application to the state for water quality certification is required. The individual water quality certification must be received prior to starting work.
Projects authorized under general permits where certification is denied always require an application to the state for water quality certification.
Conditioning or denial of a general permit does not mean that activities authorized by that permit will not receive certification, only that the state feels an individual review is necessary to ensure water quality standards will not be violated.
Back to Kentucky Water Quality Certification Program Main Page