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Water Quality Certifications. What is a water quality certification (WQC)?. Certifies that the discharge of fill material into navigable waters will comply with site specific water quality standards. Procedures for WQC’s are described in LAC 33:IX.Chapter 15. Why is a WQC Required?.

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what is a water quality certification wqc
What is a water quality certification (WQC)?
  • Certifies that the discharge of fill material into navigable waters will comply with site specific water quality standards.
  • Procedures for WQC’s are described in LAC 33:IX.Chapter 15.
why is a wqc required
Why is a WQC Required?
  • Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires certification for all federal licenses and permits required by the act.
  • All federal licenses or permits cannot be issued without a WQC.
  • Corps of Engineers Section 404 permits make up ~99% of all WQC requests.
wqc considerations
WQC Considerations
  • Each application is reviewed to identify existing and potential causes and sources of water quality impairment related to the proposed project; including:
    • Analysis of pre- vs. post-construction stormwater and land use changes,
    • BMP’s during construction,
    • & if necessary, method of wastewater treatment.
common activities requiring certification
Common Activities Requiring Certification
  • Oil & Gas Exploration, Production & Service.
    • Construction of Board Roads, Ring Levees, Drill Pads, etc.
    • Dredging Waterbodies for Access to Well Sites.
    • Installation of Pipelines.
common activities requiring certification con t
Common Activities Requiring Certification (con’t)
  • Development, Expansion &/or Improvement of Property.
    • Residential Subdivisions
    • Commercial and Industrial Complexes
    • Individual Home and Campsites
  • Municipal Projects
    • Hurricane Protection Levees
    • New Schools, Roads, Bridges, Sewerage Infrastructure, etc.
wqc process
WQC Process
  • Receive Application/Initial Review
  • Conduct a Public Notice
  • Request Additional Information, as needed.
  • Final Review
  • Issue a Final Decision
application
Application
  • The Corps or Coastal Management Division provides DEQ with a copy of the Section 404 permit application.
  • A complete copy of the Section 404 permit application is required to initiate the certification process.
public notice
Public Notice
  • Public notices can be issued in conjunction with the Corps &/or Coastal Management Division.
  • Some public notices are published in the Advocate and the newspaper of general distribution at the location of the proposed activity.
public comments
Public Comments
  • All comments received from the public are reviewed.
  • DEQ accepts comments from within the Department, & other state and federal resource agencies.
  • The applicant is asked to respond to the comments.
wqc resources
WQC Resources
  • WQC staff utilize the following resources to analyze potential impacts to water quality:
    • Louisiana Water Quality Management Plan
      • 305(b) Report
      • Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waterbodies
        • Subsegment Descriptions
        • Designated Uses & Degrees of Support
        • Suspected Causes and Sources of Impairment
water quality resources con t
Water Quality Resources (con’t)
  • Louisiana Effluent Limitations Policy, Area-wide Policies, & TMDL’s.
  • Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Data
  • Technical Reports, Studies, Publications, and Other Data from Federal, State, Academic, and Other Entities Related to Controlling Non-point Source Pollution, Stormwater, Best Management Practices, etc.
water quality resources con t1
Water Quality Resources (con’t)
  • Input from the Public.
  • Input from Federal, State, and Local Resources Agencies.
    • EPA, USFW, NMFS, LDWF, CMD, et al.
final review
Final Review
  • WQC staff review the complete application and recommend approval or denial based upon:
    • The applicant’s response to public comments related to water quality issues.
    • The project’s compliance with site-specific water quality standards.
decision
Decision
  • The designated authority reviews the application for approval or denial.
  • If a decision cannot be made, then the application will be sent back for clarification, &/or additional information.
  • If a decision can be made, then the water quality certification is signed, completing the process.
issuance of wqc s
Issuance of WQC’s
  • WQC staff review the complete application and recommend approval or denial based upon:
    • The applicant’s response to public comments related to water quality issues.
    • The project’s compliance with site-specific water quality standards.
issuance of wqc s con t
Issuance of WQC’s (con’t)
  • If a decision cannot be made, then the application will be sent back for clarification, &/or additional information.
  • If a decision can be made, then the water quality certification is signed, completing the process.
new for 2012

New for 2012

2012 Nationwide Permit Renewal

Only NWP 29 & 39 will require WQC’s.

EPA approved TMDL’s for LA

Many of Louisiana’s watershed basins now have specific numerical water quality criteria that must be met; previously this criteria was narrative or general.

This will primarily affect sanitary wastewater discharges.

water quality certifications1
Water Quality Certifications

Helps ensure that the quality of Louisiana waters are maintained for the use of all citizens of the state.

wqc contact info
WQC contact info.
  • Jamie.Phillippe@la.gov
  • Desk: 225-219-3225
  • Fax: 225-325-8250
  • Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality
    • P.O. Box 4313
    • Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4313
    • Attn: Water Quality Certifications