Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Applying for Certification

What Information Must I Provide?

An applicant who seeks certification must submit a Combined Application for Permit to Construct Across or Along a Stream and/or Water Quality Certification along with the basic information requested. Applicants proposing a  project that may require an individual certification must also submit detailed plan and profile drawings along with the proper application fee, if applicable. Individual certification applicants should also follow the Compensatory Mitigation Guidelines.  The application, fee submittal forms and associated instructions on the Certification Forms page.   
How Will My Application Be Processed?

Applications qualifying for general certification: An application will first be reviewed for completeness. Projects proposing to minimally affect waters of the state can often be authorized by pre-determined general certifications of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permits.  Pre-determined impact thresholds and conditions have been established and are specific to the nature of the proposed activity.  If the proposed activity qualifies for coverage under a general certification, the work can be authorized by letter (General Water Quality Certification) upon review and acceptance of the plans, if requested by the applicant.  An activity may be granted coverage under a general certification, or the activity may be denied coverage. If a proposed activity does not meet the conditions of a general certification, the application must be processed as an individual certification.

Individual certification applications: When the proposed activity does not qualify for coverage under a general certification, an individual water quality certification is required. Projects requiring an individual Water Quality Certification are typically larger scale projects which exceed the conditions and/or thresholds listed within the general certifications. Once the division receives an application, a technical review is performed to determine if additional information is needed.  If the application is not complete, the applicant is notified of any deficiencies and asked to respond within a defined period. Once the application is deemed complete, applications are posted to a 30-day public notice period on the Division of Water web site and a copy of the public notice posting is also emailed to persons on our mailing list. This posting does not signal the Division’s intent to issue or deny a certification; it is only a notice that the application is being considered for certification.  After public review and final supervisory review, a certification is issued or denied. Certifications are valid for the time required to complete the activity, usually one (1) year.  Processing time can vary depending upon such things as the complexity of the activity or impact, the level of public interest, applicant cooperation, the quality or value of the waters to be affected, etc.

Public Notice
Water Quality Certification Public Notices are now accessible through the Department of Environmental Protection's Pending Approvals Search Page

What Are My Rights And Responsibilities After The Permit Is Issued?

The permittee has the right to proceed with permitted activities. The permits are transferable but only upon written notification to the division. Minor modifications to the permit can be made administratively. If an extension is necessary, the applicant must reapply with the division. The applicant is responsible for complying with conditions and requirements as stated in the certification. These requirements and conditions are specific to the activity and may include periodic monitoring and inspections by the applicant. In addition, the applicant is responsible for obtaining any associated federal and state permits.
What Are The Division's Rights And Responsibilities After The Certification Is Issued?
The Kentucky Division of Water has the responsibility to ensure the discharge will not violate Kentucky's water quality standards.   The Division has the right to inspect the site when deemed necessary. It also has the right to revoke, suspend or modify any certification for violation of certification conditions and any other provisions of the Clean Water Act.  The waters of Kentucky are the property of the state and are held in public trust for the use of the people of the state, and the people of Kentucky, as beneficiaries of this trust, have a right to unpolluted waters. In the exercise of its public trust over the waters of the state, the division must take all prudent steps to protect for the future use of the waters so that the water resources of Kentucky might be used and enjoyed to the fullest extent consistent with the maintenance of unpolluted waters.

Water Quality Certification for Surface Coal Mining Operations
The Department for Natural Resources reviews applications for Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification (401 WQC) associated with activities related to surface coal mining operations. Examples include, but are not limited to, surface coal mining operations, improvements to local roads for the purposes of hauling coal, restoration of abandoned mine lands and off-site stream or wetland restoration activities intended solely to offset impacts resulting from surface coal mine activities. Visit the Department for Natural Resources Web site for further information on this process.