Permit adjudications

Requesting an Administrative Hearing

Under the Water Quality Act, affected parties may request administrative hearings to challenge the terms and conditions of issued permits, challenge the terms and conditions of permit modifications, and challenge  denials of permit applications. If the Water Quality Control Division grants the request to hold the hearing, the department then refers the matter to a hearing officer or the Office of Administrative Courts (OAC) to hold the administrative hearing under the Water Quality Act. The OAC administrative law judge then issues an interim decision that can then be appealed to the executive director of Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment. The executive director's decision represents a final agency action under the Water Quality Control Act. 

Things to remember if you are requesting a hearing:

  • Administrative hearings are not available for certifications of coverage under general permits (or “certs”); for denials of modification requests, for denials of termination requests, and minor permit modifications. Generally, if there was no public notice process with public comments for the document, an administrative hearing from the division is not available. 
  • Please closely follow the requirements in Regulations 21 and Regulation 61.7, including Regulation 21.4(B)(2). The division has denied a number of hearing requests because the requestor did not include everything required under those regulations. 

Requesting Party Status (intervening) in an Administrative Hearing

Under the State of Colorado permit appeal regulations, any person or group who may be affected or aggrieved by the State’s action on the permit may request “party status” in permit appeal hearings to participate as an intervenor in that hearing. Applications should include a brief statement that includes:

  • The reasons for seeking party status.
  • The facts which entitle you to be admitted as a party. This could include your interest in the permit and how you might be affected by the permit.
  • The matters which you have decided that describes what you see as important issues. 
  • A description of the general nature of the evidence to be presented in the course of the proceedings.

Before the department refers the matter to a hearing officer or the OAC, a party may file a request for party status/intervention by emailing Meg Parish, Permits Section Manager, Water Quality Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment,meg.parish@state.co.us.

After the department refers the matter to a hearing officer and the OAC, the hearing officer or OAC will set a hearing date and issue a case management order with deadlines for intervention applications. 

Intervention does not necessarily require an attorney. If you have any questions about intervention, please feel free to reach out to Meg Parish at meg.parish@state.co.us.

Current Permit Administrative Hearings:

This spreadsheet lists active permit administrative appeals. If you have any questions about these appeals or their status, please feel free to reach out to Meg Parish at meg.parish@state.co.us.

More information on the hearing process and requirements is available in our regulations and the Water Quality Control Act:

Regulation 21, and Regulation 61.7.

Water Quality Control Act, Part 4.