Requirements of a Section 404 Permit Application

March 29, 2012 — 1,031 views  
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The Clean Water Act (CWA) is considered a cornerstone of the various environmentally focused laws in the United States. Its regulations are intended to preserve U.S. waters, particularly in relation to the construction of dams, levees and local infrastructure. Those who must release discharge or fill material resulting from such activities will have to be cleared to do so through a section 404 permit application.

Section 404 of the CWA allows for the activities described above to take place if they are determined not to be - in the words of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - "contrary to the public interest." The EPA, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issues such permits, and one looking to apply for one would want to contact their local USACE district office to receive the proper documentation.

Within those forms, applicants should provide evidence proving that the work proposed cannot be performed without some amount of discharge, which would not seriously harm any nearby waters. Any measures that will help mitigate the effects of dumping must be detailed as well.

Specific permits can be issued as little as 30 days from the date a Section 404 application is submitted if a general permit for such activities has been released by the USACE on a national or regional level. Otherwise, the wait typically falls between 2 and 6 months.