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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
General Information

Projects that involve the discharge of dredged or fill materials into waters of the United States, including wetlands, are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Clean Water Act Section 404 and require Section 401 certification. Examples of activities that may require a Section 404 permit and Section 401 water quality certification are stream relocations, road crossings, stream bank protection, construction of boat ramps, placing fill, grading, dredging, ditching, mechanically clearing a wetland, building in a wetland, constructing a dam or dike, and stream diversions.

The Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) program in Kentucky ensures that activities involving a discharge into waters of the state and requiring a federal permit or license, are consistent with Kentucky's water quality standards in Title 401, Chapter 5, of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations.

The Section 401 certification is authorized by the federal Clean Water Act and KRS Chapter 224. In Kentucky, the Water Quality Certification Section in the Water Quality Branch is responsible for implementing the Section 401 program.

For wetland-related impacts involving greater than one acre of wetland loss, the applicant should follow the Wetland Mitigation Guidelines when applying for a WQC. Wetland losses involving less than one acre may be regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for making official jurisdictional wetland determinations.

For stream-related impacts, the applicant should submit detailed plan and profile drawings along with the application. Impacts in streams or lakes designated as Special Use Waters always require an individual WQC and a detailed sediment and erosion control plan.

For both wetland and stream disturbances, the applicant must complete and submit the Combined Application for Permit to Construct Across or Along a Stream and/or Water Quality Certification along with appropriate attachments.

Activities that occur in a regulated floodplain may also require a Stream Construction Permit from the Kentucky Division of Water. Visit the Floodplain Construction home page for more information on the Permit to Construct Along or Across a Stream.

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