Reg. 82 - 401 Water Quality Certification Process



A 401 water quality certification is an official approval issued by the Water Quality Control Division. The division is required to issue 401 water quality certifications for any project that requires an individual 404 permit, which is issued when dredged or fill materials are placed in Colorado’s water systems. This ensures that projects releasing dredge and fill materials do not negatively impact water quality, promoting the overall health of the state's water.

Regulation 82 sets rules for how the division manages 401 water quality certifications in Colorado. The division can grant, grant with conditions, deny, or expressly waive certifications for federal licenses and permits under section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).


The EPA recently enacted new guidance for 401 water quality certifications. The 401 Improvement Rule went into effect in November 2023, and the division is required to follow the rule's guidance. The division had intended to perform our regular review of Regulation 82 in 2021. However, due to these uncertainties, we delayed this process until the EPA had established the 401 Improvement Rule. Please visit the EPA's website for more information on the 401 Improvement Rule.

In light of the EPA’s new guidance and as part of the division’s regular review, we invite all interested stakeholders to join two public meetings. During these sessions, the division will inform stakeholders of the changes under consideration and ask for feedback on the following changes:


  • Updating the regulation to reflect the EPA’s 2023 401 Improvement Rule.

  • Identifying and correcting any typographical errors or inconsistencies to improve the language used in Regulation 82.

  • Determining the expiration dates on 401’s that have not started construction. 

How to get involved



Starting in January 2024, the division will meet with stakeholders to discuss possible changes to Regulation 82. At the end of these meetings, the Water Quality Control Commission will consider the proposed revisions to Regulation 82 through a rulemaking hearing scheduled for October 2024.

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The division will host two public meetings with stakeholders. After the meetings conclude, a copy of the recording, chat, presentation, and other meeting materials will be stored in this public folder.

Scheduled meetings:


For more information, please contact: