Water Quality Certification and Isolated Wetland Permits

Anyone who wishes to discharge dredged or fill material into the waters of the U.S., regardless of whether on private or public property, must obtain a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and a Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) from the state.

Anyone who wishes to discharge dredged or fill material into isolated wetlands in Ohio must obtain an Isolated Wetland Permit from Ohio EPA.

The 401 Water Quality Certification and Isolated Wetland Permitting Section reviews applications for projects that propose the placement of fill or dredged material into waters of the State, including streams, lakes and wetlands. The section also reviews required mitigation of issued permits and performs wetland research.

To make a complaint and/or report illegal fill activities, please email the Complaint Form [Word] to EPA401Webmail@epa.ohio.gov.

IMPORTANT UPDATES

New Wetland Antidegradation Rule Requirements

Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water (DSW) adopted final revisions to the Wetland Antidegradation and Wetland Water Quality Standards rules in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-1-50:54. The effective date of these amended rules is July 30, 2018. For final versions of the rules in OAC 3745-1-50:54 please go here.

To coincide with the revised rules, changes were required to the 401 WQC application form, impact tables and application instructions. The new form, impact tables and instructions are available on the Water Quality Certification tab below. Once the new rules become effective on July 30, 2018, the new forms (dated 06/2018) should be used. Ohio EPA will continue to accept the old application forms and impact tables (dated 12/2016) until Oct. 30, 2018 after which the new application form will be required. Once the revised rules are effective, the new application requirements, outlined in the application instructions, will be in effect and will be expected for all submittals.

 

NEW OPTIONS TO SUBMIT APPLICATION ONLINE NOW

The Ohio EPA eBusiness Center provides applicants the option to prepare and submit applications and pay associated fees online for the following applications: pre-application meetings, 401 water quality certifications, 401 director’s authorizations, and isolated wetland permits. Users have the ability to create an Ohio EPA eBusiness Center account, obtain a PIN (i.e., electronic signature) within minutes, and access and submit applications. More information is available on the respective tabs below.

 

  • Account Creation and PIN Setup Walkthrough
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: Consultants CAN NOT PIN (electronically sign) applications on behalf of their clients. Consultants can COMPLETE the application then DELEGATE it to their client to pin and submit.
 

Director's Authorizations

Ohio EPA may grant coverage under the general 401 WQC for the Nationwide Permits for any project that does not meet one or more of the terms and conditions of the issued general 401 WQC or where the district engineer has been granted authority to waive certain requirements. Details on the Director’s Authorization process are outlined in the general 401 WQC for the Nationwide Permits.

The Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water has received an application for, and has begun to consider whether to issue a Director’s Authorization for coverage under the 401 WQC for the Nationwide Permits for the projects listed in the following table.

To facilitate public involvement, electronic copies of the submitted application materials are available for 15 days. The comment due date is posted in the table below. Anyone may submit written comments by email to epa401DAcomments@epa.ohio.gov. Please be sure to include the Ohio EPA # in the subject line of your email.

Director's Authorization Applications Available for Comment

Ohio EPA # Description County Comments Due
185900 [file folder] EHP406_011 Well Line- Eureka Midstream, LLC Monroe July, 31, 2018
185906 [file folder] Cleveland Bulk Terminal Rehabilitation Cuyahoga July 26, 2018
185892D [PDF] Williams #2 Injection Well- Williams Disposal, LLC Noble July 13, 2018
185891D [PDF] 5881 SR 312 Culvert​ - Shiyue Shan Perry July 12, 2018
       

The Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water has received an application for, and has begun to consider whether to issue or deny, a Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification and/or isolated wetland permit for the projects listed in the following table.

To facilitate public involvement, electronic copies of the application materials are available during the public comment period. Copies of the application and technical support information also may be inspected at Ohio EPA-DSW, Lazarus Government Center, 50 West Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus, Ohio, by first calling (614) 644-2001. Copies of the application and technical support information can also be made available upon request at Ohio EPA district offices by calling the same number.

Once published, copies of the public notices can be found by clicking the following link: https://ebiz.epa.ohio.gov/Notices/jsp/notice_search.jsp

Once on the Public Notices site, use these steps to navigate to the appropriate public notice:

  1. Click the circle next to "Public Comment"
  2. Select the appropriate county by clicking on the dropdown arrow
  3. Click the "Search" button to return the results
  4. Sort the results by clicking the arrow next to the heading "Notice Type"
  5. Scroll through to find the appropriate "Notice Type", either "Notice of Receipt of 401 application" or "Notice of Receipt of Isolated Wetland Permit Application"
  6. Click "View" to see the details of the public notice including the comment period end date.
Ohio EPA # Description County
185811 [PDF] Lake County Raw Water-Storm Damage Reduction​ ​- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District Lake

185884 [PDF]

 Disposal Areas [PDF]

Buffalo District LOP Re-certification- Buffalo Corps of Engineers​ All Counties in Buffalo District
185819 [file folder] Fairborn Quarry Relocation-401 - Fairborn Cement Co.  Greene
165070 [file folder] Portsmouth Bypass Waste Areas​- Portsmouth JV Scioto
185836 [file folder] Warner Farms Development II ​- CRG Acquisitions, LLC Licking
175424 [file folder] WOO-582-7.47 PID 81000- Ohio Department of Transportation Wood
185766 [file folder] Wearsch Breakwater and Revetment ATF ​- Gregory E. Wearsh & Amy R. Wearsh Cuyahoga
185733 [file folder] Renaissance II Residential- Fischer Development Company Warren
175610 [file folder] Blanchard River Flood Reduction-Brian Robertson, Hancock County Engineers Hancock
185615 [file folder] Woodhill ​- Woodhill Properties, Inc. Cuyahoga
165149 [file folder] Stoneco Portage Quarry Expansion ​- Don Holt, The Shelly Company Wood
185761 [file folder] Avon Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility​- Avon Realty Holding LLC Lorain
185775 [file folder] Cleveland Harbor 2018 - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Buffalo District Cuyahoga
185670 [file folder] Risberg Pipeline Project​- RH Energytrans LLC Ashtabula
185627A [file folder] Falcon Ethane Pipeline​- Shell Pipeline Company LP Multiple
175538A [file folder] Proposed Hawthorne Phase VI VII- Hawthorne of Aurora, LLC Portage
175371 [file folder] CA Senior Living Center- CA Senior Living Holdings, LLC Cuyahoga
175467 [file folder] Century Mine CRDA Expansion Phase 2- American Energy Corporation, Inc. Belmont
175446 [file folder] The Reserve at Deer Run Phase II – KMA Westside Development, Inc. Hamilton
154752 [file folder] FRA-71-0.00 PID 93496 - Ohio Department of Transportation Franklin
     

Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires state agencies to evaluate projects that will result in the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States to determine whether the discharge will violate the State’s water quality standards. Any person who wishes to place dredged or fill material into wetlands, streams or lakes must apply for an individual Section 401 certification unless the project meets the Ohio EPA conditions of applicable nationwide permits.

Activities typically requiring 401 certification include stream rerouting, culverting streams, filling wetlands and dredging and filling in lakes. Typical projects include highway construction, marina and dock construction, shopping mall construction, strip mining operations or housing subdivisions. A Section 401 certification is required for activities that require federal permits such as a Section 404 permit, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, or a U.S. Coast Guard permit.

Pre-Application Meeting

Planning a project that will impact wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes or other regulated water resources, and anticipating how Ohio EPA will respond to your application can be difficult. In an effort to avoid delays and confusion, and ensure that Ohio's environment is protected, Ohio EPA offers pre-application coordination for all applicants who need to apply for a Section 401 Water Quality Certification or Isolated Wetland Permit. Most delays in the application review process are caused by applicants not providing all the information required by Ohio EPA. Through the pre-application coordination process, Ohio EPA representatives can help ensure you know exactly what you need before you submit your application.

A pre-application meeting is an informal, completely voluntary (though highly recommended) process where you meet with an Ohio EPA 401 Coordinator to discuss a project that is in its early planning stages.

Application Materials

ORC section 6111.30 specifies what items must be submitted for a Water Quality Certification application package to be considered complete. The required components under ORC division 6111.30(A) are:

  1. A complete 401 Water Quality Certification application form and applicable impact tables.

  2. A copy of the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ jurisdictional determination letter. If no jurisdictional determination is to be issued by the Corps, the public notice or notification that the project is authorized under a general permit will fulfill this requirement;

  3. If the project impacts a wetland, a wetland characterization analysis consistent with the Ohio Rapid Assessment Method;

  4. If the project involves a stream for which a specific aquatic life use designation found in Chapter 3745-1 of the Administrative Code has not been made, data sufficient to determine the existing aquatic life use;

  5. A specific and detailed mitigation plan prepared in accordance with 33 C.F.R. Part 332 and rule 3745-1-54, including the location and proposed real estate instrument or other mechanism for protecting the property long term;

  6. Applicable fees;

  7. Site photographs of water resources in accordance with OAC 3745-32-03(B)(e);

  8. Adequate documentation confirming that the applicant has requested comments from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service regarding threatened and endangered species, including the presence or absence of critical habitat;

  9. Descriptions, schematics, and appropriate economic information of the applicant’s alternatives analysis prepared in accordance with 40 C.F.R. Part 230 and 3745-1-54 for the project;

    Alternatives Analysis Guidance

  10. The applicant’s investigation report of the waters of the United States in support of the 404 permit application. If no investigation report is required by the Corps, the public notice or notification that the project is to be authorized under a general permit will fulfill this requirement; and

  11. A copy of the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ public notice regarding the 404 permit application. If no public notice is to be issued by the Corps, notification that the project is authorized under a general permit will fulfill this requirement.

15-Day Completeness Review

Ohio Revised Code division 6111.30(B) requires Ohio EPA to review an application within 15 business days of submission and to notify the applicant in writing whether the application is considered complete, or not. If incomplete, the letter will specify what parts of the application package are missing. If complete, the letter will specify what type of public notice is required for the proposed project. The letter will also provide the name and contact information for the application reviewer assigned to that project. This notification will be a letter that is faxed to the applicant or their designated agent. The applicant, or their agent, will be asked to acknowledge receipt of the 15-day review letter by signature and return fax.

Should the application be incomplete, the applicant has 60 days in which to provide the missing information. After 60 days, the Director may return the application and the review fee without further action. The application fee will not be refunded.

Public Notice Requirements

Division 6111.30(C) of the Ohio Revised Code places the responsibility for issuing a public notice about the application for the project with the applicant. Ohio EPA has prepared an instruction sheet to assist the applicant through this process. The instruction sheet describes the steps to be taken and coordination needed to complete this task in a timely manner.

Additional Process Steps

  1. A formal mid-project review meeting procedure has been established to ensure that all applicants are offered the opportunity to meet with the application reviewer after the close of the public comment period if they so desire.

  2. A formal dispute resolution procedure has been established to ensure the timely resolution of disagreements that arise during the technical review process.

Fees

Key provisions of the 401 Water Quality Certification fees are:

  • A person that applies for a Certification must pay an application fee of $200 at the time of application.
  • In addition to the application fee, that person must pay the following review fees:
Resource Impacted Review Fee
Wetland $500 per acre
Ephemeral Stream $5 per linear foot or $200, whichever is greater
Intermittent Stream $10 per linear foot or $200, whichever is greater
Perennial Stream $15 per linear foot or $200, whichever is greater
Lake $3 per cubic yard of dredged or fill material
   

  • For 401 Water Quality Certification applications, one-half of the applicable review fee is due at the time of application. The remainder of the fee shall be paid at the time the Director takes an action on the application.
  • The total fee paid shall not exceed $25,000 per application. If the applicant is a county, township, or municipal corporation in the state, the total fee paid shall not exceed $5,000 per application.
  • Fees do not apply if the applicant is a state agency or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The total fee paid shall not exceed $25,000 per application. If the applicant is a county, township, or municipal corporation in the state, the total fee paid shall not exceed $5,000 per application.

When submitting an application, please provide a check, payable to the Treasurer of the State of Ohio for the application fee and one half of the review fee. The balance of the review fee will be due once the Agency has taken a final action on an application. You will receive an invoice from Ohio EPA for the remaining fees that are due.

Final 401 Vessel General Permits


U.S. EPA issued the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) on March 28, 2013. The federal permit authorizes covers and regulates a wide variety of discharges from vessels, including ballast water (water and associated suspended sediments taken into or discharged from ballast tanks to maintain the stability of the vessel), bilge water and gray water discharged from vessels. Sanitary wastewater discharges are covered by U.S. Coast Guard regulations. The 2013 VGP has an effective date of December 19, 2013. 

To correspond with this federal permit, and ensure protection of Ohio's water quality, the Agency requires that certain vessels also obtain a Section 401 Water Quality Certification. The following general permits were issued in September, 2012. 

What are isolated wetlands?

Isolated wetlands are not connected to other surface waters. For this reason they are not classified as waters of the United States by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nevertheless, they are waters of the State of Ohio and are therefore regulated by the Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Section 401 Wetlands and Streams Permitting Section.

How do I know if there is an isolated wetland on my project site?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has responsibility for:

  • determining whether wetlands exist within a particular project site;
  • confirming the number, boundaries and acreage of those wetlands;
  • determining whether those wetlands are “waters of the U.S.” or "isolated."

These written findings are recorded in a final jurisdictional determination (JD) which is sent to the entity requesting the JD and to Ohio EPA. See an example JD, identifying the presence of isolated wetlands.

When a final JD identifies isolated wetlands, regardless of isolated wetland acreage or category, Ohio EPA will send you a letter notifying you of the potential need for an isolated wetland permit application. See an example notification letter.

PLEASE NOTE: When the applicant requests, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues, a preliminary JD, all wetlands on the proposed site are assumed to be waters of the U.S., and will not be declared isolated. See the Corps Regulatory Guidance Letter on Jurisdictional Determinations.

Why does Ohio EPA regulate isolated wetlands?

Ohio EPA authority to regulate discharges of fill to isolated wetlands is provided in Ohio Revised Code 6111.02 through 6111.028.

What triggers the need for an isolated wetland permit application?

When a project proposes to place fill in an isolated wetland, an isolated wetland permit is required. Fill is defined in paragraphs (D) and (E) of Ohio Revised Code 6111.02.

Procedures to get an Isolated Wetland Permit

There are three levels of isolated permit application review as summarized in the table below. Once you have determined which level of review applies to your proposed project, click on the links in the table to get details about the application and review processes and the associated permit you can expect to get.

Wetland Category Acres of Potential Wetland Impact Public Notice Required? Mandatory Public Hearing? Ohio EPA Permit Review Period Type of Permit Type of IWP Review and Links to More Information
1 or 2 0.5 acres or less No No 30 days* General Permit Level 1
1 more than 0.5 acres Yes No 90 days* Individual Level 2 Isolated Wetland Permit. See example Level 2
2 more than 0.5 acres but less than or equal to 3 acres
2 more than 3 acres Yes No 180 days* Individual Level 3 Isolated Wetland Permit. See example Level 3
3 any size Yes Yes
             

* The permit review period begins on the date when Ohio EPA sends you a letter documenting that the application is complete.

Fees

Key provisions of the Isolated Wetland Permit fees are:

  • A person that applies for a Permit must pay an application fee of $200 at the time of application.
  • In addition to the application fee, that person must pay the following review fees:

 Resource Impacted

Review Fee

 Wetland

 $500 per acre

 

 

  • For Isolated Wetland Permit applications, the entire review fee is due at the time of application.
  • The total fee paid shall not exceed $5,200 per application.
  • Fees do not apply if the applicant is an agency or department of the state, or any county, township, or municipal corporation in the state.
  • All After-the-Fact isolated wetland projects will be assessed double the amount of the application and review fees up to a maximum of $10,000.

When submitting an isolated wetland application, please provide a check, payable to the Treasurer of the State of Ohio for the application fee and the review fees.

Nationwide Permits are a type of 404 permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers every five years for certain projects that are similar in nature and cause minimal degradation to waters of the United States. These permits substantially expedite the permitting process. To determine if a project qualifies for Nationwide Permit coverage, applicants should review the current version of the Nationwide Permits for the State of Ohio and may contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Ohio EPA to discuss their project.


Section 401 Water Quality Certifications for the 2017 Nationwide Permits

On March 17, 2017, Ohio EPA finalized the 401 WQC and Response to Comments for the 2017 Nationwide Permits published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Federal Register (Volume 82, No. 4) on January 6, 2017. The 2017 Nationwide Permits are effective from March 19, 2017 through March 18, 2022.

The final 2017 Nationwide Permits for Ohio were public noticed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh Districts on March 21, 2017.

In order to determine eligibility under the 401 WQC for the 2017 Nationwide Permits for stream impacts, applicants should use the Stream Eligibility Web Map.

A Quick Guide is available for determining when to coordinate with Ohio EPA regarding the Nationwide Permits.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Contacts

401 Water Quality Certification and Isolated Wetlands Permit and Compliance Section
Kallipolitis, Harry Section Manager (614) 644-2146
Boyles, Jeff Supervisor (614) 644-2494
Taulbee, Rachel
SEDO Supervisor 
(740) 380-5433
Allamon, Heather  Projects in Northwest District  (419) 352-8461 
Selbe, Maggie Energy & Other Projects in Southeast District  (740) 380-5226
Loucek, Joe  Projects in Northeast District  (330) 963-1258 
Lung, Joni  Rules and Special Projects
(614) 644-2152 
Lamoreaux, Matthew
Projects in Central and Southwest Districts  (614) 644-2327
Siegley, Carol  Energy & Other Projects in Southeast Ohio  (740) 380-5225
Surrena, Todd  Shale Gas Projects in Northeast District  (330) 963-1255 
Wilk, Ed  Projects in Northeast District  (330) 963-1172 
Beck, Brandon
ODOT Projects Statewide
(614) 644-2259
Kilbourne, Andrea  Mitigation Compliance (614) 466-6308 
Babb, Thomas
Mitigation Compliance (614) 914-4243
Hardesty, Cara
Water Quality Certified Professional Program
(614) 644-2143
     

In this video, Agency expert Ric Queen explains wetland classifications, and how the Agency monitors impacts to Ohio wetlands through the permitting processes.