Section 401 Water Quality Certification

The state of Washington works with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing process for hydropower dams. When an applicant requests a license, either to re-license an existing dam or for new construction, Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) works with the utility, reviews studies, analyses and plans. If Ecology determines that water quality standards are attainable, a 401 Certification (referring to Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act) is issued with conditions to ensure that the standards will be met. These conditions become part of the new FERC license.