Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, a federal agency, such as the Corps, may not issue a permit or license to conduct any activity that may result in any discharge into waters of the United States unless a certifying authority issues a Section 401 water quality certification (401 WQC) verifying compliance with existing water quality requirements or waives the certification requirement. An individual water quality certification or waiver is required for Department of the Army permits that would result in the discharge of dredged or fill material, unless the discharge is for an activity where a general water quality certification has already been issued.
Many activities that qualify for a General Permit are already granted a general 401 WQC. The Chicago District manages several General Permit programs. Please refer to the respective pages for each of these programs to determine if an individual 401 WQC will be required for your project. If you are unsure, please call our general line at (312) 846-5530 and a member of our staff will assist you.