Every five years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) reissues the Nationwide Permits (NWPs) under their Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit program. The NWPs are activity-based and intended to make the permitting process faster and more efficient for the applicant. In January 2017 the Corps published its Final Rule for re-issuance of the existing NWPs, General Conditions, and definitions of terminology, with some modifications. The Corps has included new NWPs and General Conditions. Regional conditions specific to Nebraska have also been published, through the Omaha District Office of the Corps. These permits and conditions will become valid when the 2012 NWPs expire on March 18, 2017, and will remain in effect through March 18, 2022.
Pursuant to CWA Section 401 regulations, when the new NWPs are published, states and Tribes review each proposed NWP to determine whether activities under each permit will be in compliance state or Tribal Water Quality Standards. As the state water pollution control agency with jurisdictional authority over Nebraska’s surface waters, NDEQ is tasked with review and Water Quality Certification (WQC) of the NWPs. Certification is based on input received during a 30 day public comment period and NDEQ’s determination as to whether there is reasonable assurance that NWPs will not violate applicable provisions Title 117 – Nebraska Surface Water Quality Standards. The WQC is then incorporated by the Corps into their federal 404 permits.
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